Have you been ignoring the fact that your gums bleed when you are brushing your teeth? Allow us to tell you why that is a bad idea and what it means for your mouth.
What Is Gum Disease?
If brushing your teeth causes your gums to bleed, believe us when we tell you that it is a big deal. It is actually evidence of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque—that sticky, clear film of bacteria on your teeth—and it is an infection of the tissues surrounding your teeth.
Who Gets Gum Disease?
Although good dental habits help prevent gum disease, ultimately, anyone could obtain it. People typically do not show signs of gum disease until their 30s or 40s. In addition, men are more likely to develop gum disease.
How Is Gum Disease Detected?
A dentist can examine your mouth and tell you with certainty whether or not you have gum disease. However, some symptoms to look for include:
- Bleeding gums, particularly during brushing or flossing
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Receding gums
- Shifting or loose teeth
- Formation of deep pockets between the teeth and gums
Why Is Early Treatment Important?
Gum disease in its early stages is referred to as gingivitis. This is a milder form of gum disease, but if left untreated, it can get progressively worse, ultimately turning into gum (periodontal) disease.
Periodontal disease is quite serious and can negatively impact more than just your teeth and gums. Researchers have found links between periodontal disease and a number of serious diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and respiratory disease.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
Gum disease, in its early stages, is treated with good home care and regular dental checkups. By good home care, we are talking about brushing twice daily for at least 2 minutes each time followed by daily flossing. Following this guidance—in addition to seeing a dentist regularly for routine cleanings—is key to preventing gum disease from worsening.
When gum disease becomes more advanced, we have a number of tools we can use for treatment. Primarily, we will treat you in one or more of the following ways:
- Root Planing and Scaling. During this procedure, we will numb your mouth before cleaning your teeth below your gum line to your root.
- Antibiotic Treatment. With an antibiotic treatment, we will place an antibiotic between your gums and teeth to help speed the healing of your gums. Typically, this treatment lasts for about a week.
- Surgery. Depending on how far your gum disease has advanced, surgery may be your best option. For example, with a gingivectomy, we will remove diseased gum tissue to help gums heal. Alternatively, we may do surgery to repair bone damage or extract teeth in the cases of severe decay.
How Can I Schedule an Appointment?
It is easy to schedule a gum disease screening with us. You can request an appointment online by clicking here or by calling us at 978.688.4441. We are happy to offer evening and weekend hours for your convenience in our Methuen office.