If you notice that your gums often bleed while brushing or flossing, it’s a good sign that you may have plaque or tartar building up on your teeth near — and possibly under — the gum line. If this is the case, it’s time to up the ante on your oral hygiene practices. Are you brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once daily? Are you following your oral hygiene routine with a mouth rinse that is approved by the American Dental Association? If you strengthen your oral hygiene practices, chances are high that you’ll be able to correct a minor case of gum disease, also called gingivitis.
Most Americans will experience some level of gum disease in their lives; in fact, it’s the leading cause of tooth loss among adults besides wisdom teeth being pulled. Caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar, gum disease grows in stages, starting as gingivitis and, if left untreated, evolving into advanced gum disease, or periodontitis.
If you notice your gums are bleeding while you brush or floss, strengthen your oral hygiene habits. If the bleeding persists, and especially if it worsens and/or is accompanied by irritated, red or swollen gums, it’s time to make an appointment with our Raleigh periodontists at Triangle Periodontics.
Let’s take an up-close look today at when it’s time to be concerned that bleeding gums could be gum disease — and what to do about it:
What are the signs/symptoms of gum disease?
- Red, swollen and/or receding gums
- Gums that bleed during and after brushing teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Changes in the way the teeth fit when biting down
- Gums pulling away from teeth
- Loose or shifting teeth
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease starts similarly to a cavity and can usually be blamed on poor oral hygiene. Saliva and tooth surfaces host normal bacteria in the mouth that feed on the food and beverages you consume, including any food particles that might remain between teeth after eating if they aren’t properly brushed or flossed out. This eventually turns into a build-up of plaque and tartar, which attracts even more bacteria. Brushing twice a day and flossing once is usually enough to stave off plaque and tartar buildup that leads to gum disease. Dental visits twice a year help address the harder-to-reach areas that brushing and flossing may miss.
Without those preventative measures, however, bacteria will continue feeding and growing, creating pockets and channels that allow the bacteria to travel further down the tooth’s surface. This is how gum disease worsens, eventually causing the gums to start receding. This paves the way for the bacteria to cover the entire surface of the tooth and reach its root pocket, causing infections that weaken the tooth’s roots, ultimately leading to tooth loss.
How is gum disease treated?
How gum disease is treated depends on its severity.
- Gingivitis — Gum disease that is caught in its early stages is called gingivitis. Sometimes, gingivitis can be reversed simply by strengthening oral hygiene practices, including routine brushing and flossing and staying on track with regular checkups with our Cary-area periodontists.
- Periodontal Disease — Gingivitis that is untreated will eventually turn into periodontal disease, which carries far more serious consequences, including tooth loss. Periodontal disease and more serious cases of gingivitis almost always require a dental deep cleaning in which our Apex periodontists use special instruments and techniques to gently scrape away bacteria, plaque and tartar deposits on the lower surfaces of teeth down to the roots. This procedure, oftentimes requiring more than one appointment, helps clean plaque and tartar above and below the gum line, effectively stopping the advancement of gum disease and the possibility of tooth loss.
Gum Disease Treatment in Cary, Apex, and Raleigh, North Carolina
If you need anything from a regular dental checkup/cleaning to treatment for gum disease, our Raleigh periodontists at Triangle Periodontics are attentive and knowledgeable and always employ leading-edge technology to provide accurate diagnoses and treatments. If you notice bleeding gums, inflammation, or redness, Triangle Periodontics encourages you to call us at (919) 782-9536, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.