Posts for tag: gingivitis
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.
Research has shown that periodontal (gum) disease can affect the health of your whole body. Evidence suggests a relationship between severe gum disease and cardiovascular disease (“cardio” – heart; “vascular” – blood vessel), conditions that lead to heart attacks and strokes. There is also a relationship between gum disease and pregnancy; mothers with severe gum disease have a higher incidence of pre-term delivery and low birth-weight babies. To understand gum disease, you may find the following facts helpful. How many are you aware of?
- Periodontal disease — Any disease that affects the areas around the teeth. The word comes from the Latin “peri” meaning around and Greek “odont” meaning tooth. Periodontal disease, or gum disease as it is commonly called, is really a group of diseases with the same outcome: destruction of the periodontal tissues, loss of supporting bone and ultimately the loss of your teeth.
- Dental plaque (Biofilms) — A bacterial film that forms on teeth at the gum line, and the reason we brush and floss. Its daily removal is necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy. A biofilm is a biological film comprised of colonies of living organisms that are generally specific to a particular eco-system. Plaque is one type of biofilm.
- Gingivitis (“gingiva” – gum; “itis” – inflammation) — A response of the gum tissues to plaque biofilm that is left undisturbed (due to ineffective, or inadequate oral hygiene). It is the first stage of periodontal disease.
- Pocket formation — Just like a pocket on your clothing, pocket formation is the result of separation of the gum tissues from their normally healthy tight attachment to a tooth. Pocketing allows the introduction of bacteria, which perpetuate gum disease.
- Abscess — A collection of pus that forms within diseased periodontal tissues. It is experienced as pain, swelling, and discharge of pus from the gum tissues and is an advanced sign of periodontal disease.
Important Tip — Bleeding Gums when brushing teeth or flossing is not normal. It is a warning sign of early gum disease that you should bring to the attention of our office.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about periodontal disease. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”