Your mouth is a hotbed of bacteria. Unchecked that bacteria can easily go from good, or even benign to, seriously damaging. While we all know the golden rule of thou shalt brush and floss at least twice a day, we may be inclined to ignore a small amount of blood in the sink if we’re keeping up with our oral hygiene.
But with the some three-fourths of the US population who are likely to experience periodontal (gum) disease in their adulthood, bleeding gums shouldn’t be ignored as they are signals of serious potential dental and health problems.
What’s even scarier is that in most cases, the vast majority of people don’t even know they have gum disease. It’s not painful, and aside from a small drop of blood or two they may be inclined to let it go until it advances. By educating yourself and becoming aware of the symptoms, you have a better chance of catching catch gum disease early before it turns into something more serious such as tooth loss or heart disease.
“Periodontitis” literally translates to “inflammation around the tooth”. If you notice your gums bleeding after brushing and flossing, be sure to look out for other, more serious symptoms even if you aren’t experiencing severe discomfort:
Bleeding gums can be the result of things like brushing too hard, certain vitamin deficiencies, side effects of medications like blood thinners, improperly fitted dentures, or as a result of serious medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, leukemia or scurvy.
It’s important to remember that only your dentist can accurately determine the cause of your bleeding gums. While it is most likely a treatable case of gum disease, it is possible that the bleeding is merely the result of something more going on in your mouth or body so it’s important not to self-diagnose.
In extreme cases, there are some studies which suggest that, compared to people with healthy gums, those with gum disease were more likely to develop heart disease or have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels. Still other studies show that there could be also be a possible link between gum disease and women who deliver their babies preterm or with low birth weights. And according to the American Academy of Periodontology, studies have shown that inflammation may be the responsible factor that links periodontal disease to other diseases in the body. Therefore it’s extremely important to treat inflammation to not only manage periodontal disease, but to prevent other health conditions from arising.
While brushing and consistent flossing are a good start, making sure you get regular cleanings from a professional is the best, if not only way, to completely remove dental plaque buildup before it turns into tartar, a hard substance, that must be scraped from your teeth with metal dental tools after it adheres.
By seeking proper treatment from your dentist any time you notice bleeding in your gums, you can help reverse less serious infections such as gingivitis and periodontal disease before pricey dental procedures such as scaling and root planning are necessary.