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Brad M. Freedman, DDS & Associates
4604-D Pinecrest Office Park Dr, Alexandria, VA 22312

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Causes of Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Understanding Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is a harmful condition that can threaten the status of both your oral and overall physical health. Known as periodontal disease in the medical world, this group of diseases affects the gums and eventually leads to you losing your teeth. It can also cause a number of possibly dangerous health conditions. The best way to avoid serious issues resulting from this disease is to know how to spot the signs and symptoms of gum disease so that they can be treated right away.

How Periodontal Disease Affects Your Health

Being aware of the early signs of gum disease is an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Gum disease is a condition that can affect you no matter how young or old you are. In fact, gum disease is present in 75% of adults in America and only 15% of people are aware that they have the problem. In addition to that, at least 60% of teenagers have some type of gum disease.

While there are a number of things that you can do in order to prevent gum disease from setting in, you should know that approximately 30% of the population develop gum disease due to a genetic predisposition.

No matter what the reasons behind your developing gum disease are, it’s important that you utilize basic dental care habits to prevent the disease from fully progressing. Keeping up with your dental health care routine will prevent, treat and reverse periodontal disease in all of its forms. You should also keep an eye out for any of the early symptoms of the condition so that it can be treated before irreversible damage occurs.

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease and it develops when bacteria are allowed to build up within mouth tissues. The word gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. Generally, gingivitis is characterized by gums that are red, swollen and that easily bleed when you brush or floss. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into an advanced form of periodontal disease that can lead to tooth loss.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

While plaque and bacteria are the primary culprits behind gum disease, there are specific age and lifestyle situations that can have an impact on the levels of bacteria and plaque present in the mouth. If you fall into any of the following categories, you will want to be extra cautious when it comes to taking care of teeth and gums.

  • Hormonal changes. Women experience changes in their hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation and menopause. Researchers have discovered that these fluctuations can cause the gums to be more sensitive and more prone to developing gingivitis.
  • Illnesses. Certain illnesses and diseases can cause you to have an increased risk of developing infections. These infections can include gum disease and cavities. Some examples of illnesses that can impact the health of your gums include HIV, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Medications. Many prescription drugs can cause a condition known as dry mouth. This condition impairs the production of saliva in the mouth, making it less likely that bacteria is consistently washed away from the gums and teeth. Anti-angina and anticonvulsants are just two examples of drugs that can cause this problem.
  • Poor lifestyle habits. Chewing or smoking tobacco leads to your gum tissue being unable to heal itself. It also leads to more toxins that can damage your gums.
  • Dental care neglect. Allowing bacteria to build up within your mouth leads to inflammation and disease. Skipping out on routine dental visits and failing to brush and floss your teeth on a daily basis makes it more likely that you will develop gum disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Since gum disease develops and progresses with few symptoms, most people are unaware that they have it. However, knowing exactly what to look for can help you to catch the condition before it moves on to a point where it becomes irreversible. The most common signs of gum disease are:

  • Bleeding gums during and after you brush your teeth
  • Gums that are swollen, tender or red
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A constant foul taste in your mouth
  • A receding gum line
  • Noticeable development of “pockets” in between your teeth and gum line
  • Loose teeth or teeth that shift easily
  • A change in your bite or in the way that your dentures fit

Facts You Should Know About Periodontal Disease

If you have gingivitis and ignore it, it will eventually turn into periodontal disease. As gum disease advances, it causes the gums and bone to move away from the teeth, leading to the formation of pockets that collect debris. These pockets then become infected. As time progresses, the buildup continues to wear down the gum line and your teeth become unstable.

This causes the teeth to become loose and eventually leads to them having to be removed. Some systemic diseases can cause periodontitis to occur. These diseases include diabetes, respiratory diseases and heart ailments.

There are three main types of periodontitis, listed below. The risk you have of developing one of them is dependent on several factors.

  • Chronic periodontitis is the most common form of periodontitis found in adults. If you have this condition, you will have inflammation of gum tissues and your teeth will slowly begin to become unattached.
  • Aggressive periodontitis is usually found in people who are healthy. If you have this condition, you will experience a rapid destruction of the bone, as well as quickly lose your teeth.
  • Necrotizing periodontitis is commonly diagnosed in patients with suppressed immune systems. If you have this condition, the gum tissue, bone and periodontal ligaments begin to die.

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Periodontal Disease

  • Brush your teeth two times a day with an ADA-recommended toothpaste. If you can, brush your teeth after every meal. If it isn’t possible to brush after eating, rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Consume a diet that is low in starches and sugars.
  • Utilize a mouthwash for at least 60 seconds after you’ve brushed your teeth.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day. Be sure to reach all of the areas within your mouth.

Stay Protected From Periodontal Disease

Since your dentist is the only person who can accurately diagnose you with gum disease, you need to be sure to see him or her on a regular basis. Routinely visiting an experienced dentist in Alexandria is the best way keep gum disease at bay.

If you are at a higher risk of developing gum disease due to genetics, lifestyle factors or age, you will need to brush your teeth more often and see the dentist frequently to keep your gums healthy.

Properly caring for your teeth and gums is the best way to ensure that your teeth remain in place.

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Brad M. Freedman, DDS & Associates

4604-D Pinecrest Office Park Dr, Alexandria, VA 22312

(703) 940-1886

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