Bleeding gums are a sign of inflammation in your gums, (gum disease) and a dental examination is a must.
Often a change in oral hygiene habits can eliminate the problem. However, a more serious problem may be present and if left untreated, this may lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless however, you may not know you have it.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums. In the early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
In the more advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The gums recede and lose their shape, making it even harder to clean your teeth. Gum disease can then proceed rapidly to loosen your teeth. They may eventually fall out or will have to be removed by a dentist.
There is now a proven link to increased risk of heart disease and stroke as a consequence of gum disease.
If you notice any of the following signs of gum disease, make an appointment to see us immediately:
– Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
– Red, swollen or tender gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Bad breath that doesn’t go away
– Pus between your teeth and gums
– Loose teeth
– A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
– A change in the fit of partial dentures
Healthy gums and bone anchor your teeth firmly in place.
Unremoved plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As plaque and calculus continue to build up, the gums begin to recede (pull away) from your teeth, and pockets form between the teeth and gums.
Your gums recede further destroying more bone and the periodontal ligament. Teeth, even healthy teeth, may become loose and need to be extracted.