Have you ever heard of periodontal disease? What about plain old bleeding gums? Well, we are here to tell you they could be one in the same. It sounds intimidating, but a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that over HALF of the American adult population suffers from mild, moderate, or severe periodontal disease. If you brush or floss your teeth and see blood on a regular basis, it’s time to visit a trusted dentist. The key to preventing this uncomfortable disease is regular dental checkups in South Burlington.
How Do I Know If I Have Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the structures surrounding your teeth. This includes your gums, the periodontal ligament and the jawbone. In the earliest stage of this infection, only your gums are affected. This is called gingivitis. If the disease gets more severe, it will start to affect the structures mentioned above, causing your gums to bleed, and can even result in tooth loss.
The severity of periodontal disease can range, so its best to catch it when it is just a disease of the gums, or gingivitis, before it starts damaging your jawbone. Gingivitis can still be reversed, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with these factors that could increase your chance of getting periodontal disease:
- Poor dental care (not brushing and flossing regularly)
- Teeth that are hard to clean or crooked
- Medications for cancer therapy
What do all of these have in common you might ask? They leave your mouth more susceptible to bacteria, making it easier for pockets in your gums to collect harmful substances. Usually the first sign of gum disease is bleeding when brushing or flossing.
Causes of Gingivitis and Periodontal Diseases
Gingivitis cannot occur without one thing: plaque. Plaque is a sticky and invisible film made up of bacteria that will build up on your teeth. When plaque is not cleaned with brushing and flossing, it begins to harden into tartar, collecting bacteria on the gum line.
Tartar is much more difficult to remove than plaque because it is hardened, and it acts almost as protection for the bacteria at the gum line. The only way to truly eliminate tartar is to have your teeth professionally cleaned.
Once the tartar has set in, you will begin to feel irritation in your gums and they will become inflamed. This is when your gums start bleeding. This doesn’t happen out of nowhere, but occurs after not removing plaque and tartar build up over a long period of time. That’s why being vigilant about the early signs of gum disease and practicing preventive care is so important.
Periodontal Disease Prevention
Although some of the factors listed above like genetics and medications you must take are unavoidable, there are things you can do to prevent your gums from bleeding:
- Brush your teeth properly: Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day, and that each brushing session lasts at least 2 minutes.
- Use antibacterial toothpaste and mouthwash: Antibacterial toothpaste will help you fight plaque even after you’re done using it. This can be a great tool if you are susceptible to bleeding gums.
- Eat a healthy diet: If you eat foods that are high in sugar or simple carbohydrates, you will be more vulnerable to plaque buildup and therefore gum disease.
- Attend regular dental checkups: It is essential to preventing periodontal disease that you routinely have dental checkups and teeth cleanings. These cleanings will help remove plaque and tartar that could not have been removed by yourself. The recommendation for those with dental diseases like gum disease or tooth decay, is to visit your dentist every 3 months. For the average person without dental diseases, checkups twice a year are enough.
Are your gums red and puffy or bleeding? Be on the safe side and get a dental checkup in South Burlington. This will ensure your mouth is clean of nasty plaque and tartar that will cause complications for your gums down the road.
About The Practice
Dr. Aten and Dr. Brown are dedicated to making sure you have the best dental experience. Their continued education and use of the latest technology make them great candidates for your next checkup and cleaning. They understand that gum disease is more common than you might think, so they are ready to help with any questions or procedures regarding periodontal disease. They currently practice at Green Mountain Dental, and can be reached at (802) 863-3950.