It’s alarming to notice blood on your toothbrush, but have you thought about what it might mean? Bleeding gums are a common sign of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Periodontal disease affects one in every two Americans and has been linked with other health conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The health of your gums is just as important as maintaining healthy teeth. Over time, bacteria from plaque and tartar can build up around your gums. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In fact, periodontitis is the most common reason for tooth loss in American adults.
Boise, ID dentist Dr. Russell Jensen helps patients manage periodontal disease flare-ups by performing routine dental exams and professional cleanings.
The Two Forms Of Gum Disease
This oral disease has three different stages, gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. The lesser form of the three is gingivitis and typically results in red, swollen gums. Most patients remain unaware when they suffer from this condition. At your regular dental checkups with Dr. Jensen, he will assess the health of your gums and determine if preventative actions should be taken to stop gingivitis from progressing to more advanced stages of periodontitis. Patients who suffer from advanced periodontitis often experience gum recession, further decay, and tooth loss.
Symptoms Of Gum Disease
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, schedule your appointment with Dr. Jensen to determine treatment.
- Bleeding gums
- Noticeable redness along your gum line
- Swollen gums
- Gum recession (teeth that begin to look longer than before)
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Unexplainable tooth loss
- Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
Risk Factors Associated With Periodontal Health
Habitual smokers are at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. Other high risk factors include:
- Poor nutrition
- Poor oral hygiene
- Hormone fluctuations in females
- Certain medications
Patients are shocked when they realize that gum disease has been linked with other overall health conditions. When the bacteria in your mouth are left untreated, it can enter your blood stream, increasing your risk for other health complications, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis.
For pregnant women, poor oral health has been linked to premature birth and lower birth weight. Furthermore, patients who suffer from gum disease have a higher risk for strokes and heart attacks.
It’s important to know that gum disease is not curable. However, it is treatable and can be managed with the help of an experienced dentist, such as Dr. Jensen. At your dental checkup, he will determine the condition of your gums and recommend appropriate treatment. Depending on the stage of your gum disease, you may require non-surgical or surgical treatment. Such procedures could include:
- Antibiotic mouthwash
- Scaling and root planing
- Soft tissue grafts
- Bone grafts
- Pocket reduction surgery
- Guided tissue regeneration
Preventing The Silent Disease
Periodontal disease is often referred to as the silent disease because patients fail to recognize symptoms. Rather, they brush off their bleeding gums and bad breath.
A leading cause for development of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Dr. Jensen encourages his patients to brush their teeth each morning and night in order to maintain a healthy mouth. Although tedious, patients can also brush after each meal to remove bacteria and food particles from in between teeth. Bacteria thrive in dark, moist places, such as the tight space between your teeth. In addition to brushing, flossing should be performed daily. It can remove the harmful substances in the hard to reach places to prevent decay from developing.
We encourage our patients to rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash after their routine brushing and flossing. This is a fairly simple step, but is often overlooked by many. However, it should not be used in place of brushing your teeth, but rather as a secondary cleaning method.
An important step in preventing gum disease is attending biannual dental checkups and professional cleanings with Dr. Jensen in Boise, ID. Having your teeth professionally cleaned can remove hard-to-remove bacteria that daily brushing cannot eliminate. During your visit, he will also examine the health of your gums and teeth using x-ray technology, as well as provide tips on how to maintain oral health.