Many patients, both young and old, report they get some bleeding when they brush or floss their teeth. Gingivitis does not discriminate. According to a recent study, 75% of Americans currently have gingivitis. It’s an infection in the gums, surrounding your teeth, that causes inflammation. The gums become red, swollen and bleed easily.
Healthy gums should never bleed, not with brushing or flossing. Too often patients do not feel any pain with gingivitis so it is important to recognize the warning signs early. If caught early gingivitis is completely reversible. However, when it is left unrecognized and untreated it can progress into a more severe form of periodontal disease where bone is lost and systemic health risks significantly increase.
What To Look For?
- Gum Inflammation: Red, swollen, bleeding and sensitive gums are a result of inflammation. This occurs when toxins in plaque and tartar build up on the teeth and irritate the gum tissue. The body tries to fight off the toxins which results in inflammation.
- Bleeding Gums: Bleeding occurs with normal brushing and flossing because of the inflammation. It is still important to thoroughly brush and floss to remove toxins or else the inflammation will get worse.
- Teeth Appear Longer: This is called recession. It usually occurs when tartar (harden plaque) builds up at the gumline. The tartar puts a physical wedge between the teeth and gums, the gums do not like the tartar so they start to move away from it. Making the appearance of a longer tooth.
- Pocketing: Pocketing or a loosening of the gums around the teeth will occur as a result of toxins building up along the gumline. As a results more bacteria can get around the teeth causing more inflammation.
- Bad Breath: Chronic bad breath is never a good sign. You may also notice a bad taste in your mouth. This is caused by an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the mouth. It’s usually from poor dental home care, lack of brushing and flossing.
- Pus: Pus or exudate oozing from around the gumline is serious. This could indicate a periodontal abscess or gum abscess. This occurs in the more severe cases of gingivitis. However, it can still be treated in the office before any bone loss occurs.
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If you have one or many of the above warning signs you should schedule a dental examination as soon as possible. Gingivitis is treatable by your dental hygienist. He or she will also educate you on home care and tools, like an electric toothbrush or water flosser, to help you remove toxins and plaque better. In some cases, you will need more than one dental cleaning to ensure sure the gums return to health.
Remember, excellent oral hygiene is key. Brush, floss, and rinse at least twice a day.