Sore, Unhealthy Gums are No Laughing Matter!
Did you know that it is never okay or normal for your gums to bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? If your gums bleed, even just a tiny bit, something is wrong. What dental gum treatments should you use to improve the health of your gums?
The reason we brush and floss our teeth is to remove food and bacteria. Plaque is bacteria and it irritates gum tissue. Inflamed gum tissue is what causes gums to bleed when brushed or flossed. The first phase of inflammation is called gingivitis. If left unattended, gingivitis develops into a more serious condition known as periodontal disease. Believe it or not, it is estimated that right here in the United States, where dental services are widely available, 50% adults have periodontal disease! For those over 65 years old, that number jumps to 70%!
What is disturbing is that even those who meticulously brush and floss can develop periodontal disease. This is because even the most meticulous oral hygiene done at home cannot get below the gum line which is where plaque buildup can cause the biggest problem. Getting teeth professionally cleaned is the only way to adequately clean the areas below the gum.
If plaque is left on the tooth surface long enough it will turn to tartar, which is very much like the calcification you see around water faucets. Tartar adheres to the tooth surface like concrete and can only be removed with the special dental tools used by dental hygienists. This tartar causes such inflammation of the gum tissue that the tissue starts to pull back from the tooth making pockets. These pockets are perfect places for more bacteria to fester. Unless treated, this vicious cycle will continue and will worsen. If left untreated, these pockets get larger, eventually causing bone loss, loss of teeth, and in the most serious cases the infection can spread to other parts of the body, including the heart.
So, What Should I Do If My Gums are Bleeding?
First, make an appointment to see your dentist to get a checkup and have your teeth professionally cleaned. If the gingivitis has not become too severe, a good professional cleaning followed by better oral dental care should do the trick. If however, the dentist sees that the periodontal disease is serious, he will recommend a deep cleaning. For a deep cleaning, the surfaces well below the gum line are scaled and cleaned to remove all the plaque and tartar.
The second step then is to maintain a better, more consistent oral health plan. Specifically, brush and floss twice a day and get your teeth checked and professionally cleaned at intervals recommended by your dentist or hygienist. Following this agenda will radically reduce your chances of developing periodontal disease in the future.
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