Gum Disease: Causes, Symptoms and How To Stop Bleeding Gums At Home
Prevention And Treatment Of Gum Disease
Have you noticed that your gums are bleeding every time you brush your teeth?
Or perhaps you’ve been told that you have bad breath by a friend recently?
If the answer is yes, you might have gum disease.
When we think about dental health and going to the dentist, we often think about tooth cavities. Yet, the health of your gums plays an equally important role in your overall health. After all, healthy gums are the foundation of a healthy mouth! Besides, gum disease can affect the rest of your body.
So, to help you maintain great oral health and hygiene, we’ve highlighted below everything you need to know about gum disease, including how to treat and prevent it.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease refers to an infection affecting the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. This includes the gums, the periodontal ligaments and the alveolar bone. Gum disease is a serious issue as, unfortunately, without treatment, it can destroy the bones that support your teeth and lead to tooth loss.
The disease is prevalent in both developing and developed countries, including Australia, where according to Healthdirect, gum disease affects 30% of the population.
If you have bleeding gums and you are feeling worried, we would love for you to book in and get a dental professional to diagnose you.
There are two types of gum disease:
Gingivitis refers to the early stage of gum disease. It affects about 35 to 40% of the population.
Some of the typical signs of gingivitis are:
swollen gums; and
The inflamed gums result from bacteria build up in the mouth.
The good news is that gingivitis is reversible with appropriate oral hygiene.
However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress into a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis.
Periodontitis is an advanced stage of gum disease characterised by gums pulling away from the teeth.
It's important you get your diagnosis from an experienced and trained health professional.
This leads to the formation of pockets where bacteria are susceptible to getting trapped and causing infections.
And this can, in turn, damage the teeth and their supporting bones, leading to tooth loss.
But that’s not all. Periodontitis can also affect other main organs in your body - we recommend you speak to your gp about it.
Approximately 25 to 35% of the population have some form of periodontitis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gum Disease?
While the symptoms vary from one person to another and aren’t always obvious before the disease is severe, here are a few signs you might have gum disease:
You have persistent bad breath that won’t go away or an unpleasant taste in your mouth
Your gums are bleeding, especially when you’re brushing your teeth.
You experience pain or sensitivity when chewing food. Even though many things could cause sensitivity or pain when chewing, such as tooth decay, a root canal problem or an old filling, gum disease can also cause sensitivity or pain.
Your gums are swollen or red. This could result from brushing your teeth too vigorously, or it could be a sign of gum disease.
You have pus between your teeth and your gums.
Your teeth feel loose.
You have noticed new gaps developing between your teeth.
You have receding gums. This means that the healthy pink tissue around your teeth has begun to recede, exposing more of your teeth and making them look longer.
If you experience any of these symptoms, let your dentist know.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is usually due to poor oral hygiene.
Our mouths are full of bacteria. And when we eat starchy and sugary foods, they interact with the bacteria present in our mouths and create a sticky film on our teeth called plaque.
When we brush our teeth and floss daily, we remove this plaque and prevent it from building up.
Poor oral hygiene allows plaque to form at the base of the teeth, causing inflammation of the surrounding tissues and resulting in gingivitis.
Some other factors that may cause gum disease include old age, smoking, poor diet and underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer or leukemia. Oral contraceptives and steroids can also cause gingivitis.
Can Gum Disease Be Treated?
As mentioned before, gingivitis is reversible with a good oral hygiene routine.
Here are the steps you need to take to treat gum disease:
Professional dental cleaning: also called scaling, this procedure aims at removing all traces of plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth and beneath your gums.
Your dentist will also perform root planing to smooth the surface of your teeth and make it harder for bacteria to attach. If you have periodontitis, you’ll need more regular maintenance and cleaning (called periodontal cleaning), usually four times a year. However, talk to your dentist for a professional opinion on how often you need teeth cleaned based on your personal situation.
Antibiotics: if professional cleaning isn’t enough to treat your gum disease, you might be prescribed antibiotics to eliminate infection-causing bacteria.
Surgery: if your periodontitis is severe, you may need dental surgery. Depending on your specific situation, you might need flap surgery, soft tissue grafts, bone grafting or guided tissue regeneration.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
At-home care is key to helping you maintain a healthy mouth and prevent gum disease.
We recommend you brush your teeth twice a day with an electric toothbrush and floss every night before bed.
Make sure your toothbrush has soft bristles and use fluoride toothpaste.
Being proactive when it comes to your teeth and gums can save you from having to make trips to your dentist. Adopting a great oral hygiene routine and scheduling regular dental appointments with us at Channon Lawrence Dental can help you stay on top of oral hygiene.
How To Stop Bleeding Gums At Home
At Channon Lawrence Dental Clinic, we specialise in providing high-quality dental treatments to our clients.
We have a number of clinicians lead by, Dr Mark Cull, including dentists, oral health therapists and dental hygenists, who are all about ongoing proactive care to avoid painful infections and expensive treatments and ensure optimal oral health throughout your life.
So, if you’re looking for the best dental care in Gympie, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with Dr Mark Cull (click here). He’ll be able to provide a comprehensive check-up and share dental hygiene tips to help you develop and maintain a good oral hygiene routine and prevent gum disease.