If your gums bleed a little every single time you brush your teeth, you might blame it on your toothbrush or dismiss the bleeding altogether. Your bleeding gums could be a sign of mild periodontal disease, or gingivitis. Gingivitis can progress to a destructive gum disease called periodontitis, which can cause tooth and bone loss over time. Learn how gingivitis could possibly become periodontitis and what you could do to keep this from happening to you.
How Can Untreated Gingivitis Become Worse?
Gum disease is a silent but potentially destructive dental condition that affects adults, teens, and children. Gum disease doesn't happen overnight. The condition is actually an inflammation that occurs in several stages that include gingivitis and periodontitis. Although gingivitis is reversible, many people don't know that they have the condition. The symptoms of gingivitis can be mild or subtle enough to ignore.
The inflammation generally develops from bacteria. Bacteria can live on the surfaces of your tongue, inner cheeks, and gums without issue. It's only when you allow plaque to build up on your tooth enamel and around your gumline that the germs become problems.
Plaque contains food sugar, bacteria, and other substances. Periodontal bacteria use plaque as a constant source of food to grow, thrive, and reproduce. Bacteria create dangerous toxins when they feed on plaque. In order to handle or get rid of the bacteria in your gums, your immune system goes on the attack. The attack causes an inflammatory response in your gums.
Gingivitis might not cause any noticeable changes in your gums right away. But as time goes by, you can see some bleeding in your gums when you brush your teeth. Some people experience a slight metallic taste in their mouth that doesn't go away with mouthwash. Bacteria can also cause an odor to develop in your mouth over time.
Gingivitis is usually treatable and reversible when dentists find it early. However, untreated gingivitis can lead to a severe infection called periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs when bacteria spread to the ligaments and bone tissue beneath your gums. Periodontitis can also loosen up your teeth, as well as spread to the bone tissue in your jaw.
You can't reverse periodontitis once it starts. However, you can keep it from occurring in the first place by having your teeth cleaned and gums treated.
How Can You Keep Your Gum Inflammation From Getting Worse?
The first step to healthy gums is to keep your mouth clean. You can accomplish this by brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. The soft bristles will gently remove plaque from your teeth without irritating your gums or degrading your enamel.
Strive to clean your teeth and gums at least two times a day. If your gums can stand it, you may brush your teeth up to three times a day. Also, rinse your mouth out thoroughly with antiseptic mouthwash. You want to reduce the bacteria inside your mouth as much as possible.
If your gums continue to bleed, swell, or ooze pus, contact a dentist for care. These symptoms may be a sign of periodontitis. A dentist can perform a manual inspection of your gums to see how much damage has occurred to them. If necessary, you may need to take X-rays of your mouth to confirm your condition.
The treatment for severe gum disease can vary, but a dentist may prescribe regular cleanings to combat the bacteria in your mouth. If you lost gum or bone tissue from your condition, a dentist may use surgery and grafts to replace it. If you have any concerns about your treatments, speak to a provider immediately.
If you strike now, you can prevent your gingivitis from escalating into periodontitis. Contact a dental provider in your area, such as Sun Dental, for more information and possible treatment.