Have you ever noticed a bit of blood in the sink when you spit after brushing or flossing? Bleeding gums signify a problem and can be caused by a variety of factors including aggressive brushing, underlying health issues or certain medications, but are usually associated with gum inflammation, known as gingivitis.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is, simply put, inflammation of gum tissue. Gingivitis is caused by bacteria accumulation at the gum line from improper brushing and flossing. When bacteria accumulate, the body sends more blood to the gums, which contain white blood cells, to fight off the bacteria. Unless the bacteria is manually removed with brushing and flossing, the blood will stay in the gums, causing chronic inflammation. Inflammation appears as red, puffy gums that are more susceptible to bleeding and can sometimes be more tender or sore when brushing and flossing. Gingivitis is reversible with proper care. But, if gingivitis is left to progress, in time, it will lead to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is an inflammation of the bone and the ligament that attaches the bone to the gums. Periodontitis is associated with bad breath, deep gum pockets and even mobile or missing teeth. Once bone, gum and ligament tissue is lost, it is unable to regenerate. In other words, what’s gone is gone. With proper professional cleaning and an adequate at home regimen, periodontitis can be halted. There are also treatments available to replace gum and bone tissue and reduce pockets.
Prevention of Gum Disease
Gum disease, even in it’s earliest form, is highly preventable. It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day and to floss at least once a day. It is also essential to maintain regular cleanings and check-ups with your dentist and dental hygienist. Each time you see your dental hygienist, your gums will be assessed, and recommendations will be given for your at home oral care regimen.