The sight of bleeding gums can be unsettling, sparking concerns about potential issues. Seeing a hint of red in the sink after brushing or feeling discomfort while chewing might set off alarms in your mind. If bleeding gums are causing your imagination to run wild with dental nightmares, don’t worry. That means your body’s warning signs are doing their job, alerting your brain that something is wrong and needs to be addressed before things get worse.
Bleeding gums are often an early sign of periodontal disease, better known as gum disease. This is a very common oral health issue—it affects 47% of adults over the age of 30, and that number increases to about 70% for adults ages 65 and older. While gum disease is common, it’s also preventable. That means it’s important to learn the signs and symptoms, and what can be done to prevent the disease from developing.
Understanding Bleeding Gums
So we know that bleeding gums are a warning sign of gum disease, but what causes this symptom? Imagine your mouth as a city crammed full of good and bad bacteria, all living together and working to affect your oral health. The good bacteria help protect your teeth and gums, freshen your breath, and aid in digestion, while the bad bacteria cause gingivitis, cavities, and bad breath. The byproduct of all this bacterial hustle and bustle is a messy substance called plaque. Plaque forms when bacteria and food particles mix. If not cleaned properly, this plaque will accumulate, causing redness, soreness, and, yes, bleeding gums.
Progression: What Happens If Bleeding Gums Are Ignored?
Gum disease isn’t a stagnant issue. If bleeding gums are not addressed, the periodontal disease could worsen, with increasingly serious symptoms.
- Gingivitis: This is the smoke before the fire. In this stage, you’ll see some bleeding when you brush or floss, but won’t suffer lasting bone damage. Gingivitis is reversible with meticulous oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits.
- Mild Periodontitis: At this point, the signs that something is wrong are clearer. Your gums could begin to pull away from your teeth, creating periodontal pockets that trap plaque and tartar where they can’t be reached by normal brushing or flossing.
- Moderate Periodontitis: As the disease worsens, your bone, ligaments, and tissue are all under attack. Your gums may become very sore and tender, and pus could begin to form around the gum line.
- Advanced Periodontitis: The progression of the disease is now severe. Gum and bone loss continues, and your teeth may become loose and eventually fall out. The infection in your gums may also cause chronic bad breath known as halitosis.
Options for Dealing With Gum Disease
- Professional cleanings: Regular cleanings with Dr. Ney are always a good option for dealing with many different oral health issues, especially in the early stages.
- Scaling and root planing: This is a deep cleaning of the surfaces beneath the gums, which can take more than one visit, depending on the level of infection.
- Medication: In some cases, an antibiotic can be taken either by mouth or applied topically to the gums to control the infection.
- Surgery: For those experiencing advanced periodontitis, corrective oral surgery may be required. Bone and tissue grafting can help replace lost volume and density, while other surgical procedures can clean buildups of tartar and reduce the periodontal pockets.
Preventing Bleeding Gums
As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and that’s true for gum disease. By being proactive in your oral care rather than reactive, you can take steps to prevent gum disease from ever becoming a problem. Good habits like daily brushing, flossing, limiting sugar intake, and keeping up with your regular dental visits will set you up for future success. After all, a small change today can prevent a larger issue tomorrow.
Is Periodontal Treatment Expensive?
Dental procedures don’t have to equal big dollar signs. When you visit Dr. Ney, you can be sure that we’ll help you find a financial path that works for you. Whether that means helping you manage the tangled web of dental insurance, or working with one of our three dental financing partners, we want to help remove the stress of finances so you can focus on your dental health.
Your Healthy Smile Awaits
Imagine having a partner in your corner, armed with knowledge, the latest tools, and genuine care for your well-being. That’s what visiting Dr. Ney gets you, along with the peace of mind that you’re investing in your oral health.
While bleeding gums may have brought you through the door, a healthy, restored smile awaits you on the other side. Don’t let small warning signs develop into bigger issues. Reach out, schedule an appointment, and let us map out a treatment that ends with a happier, healthier you.