For some reason, most people I talk to have the same feeling toward bleeding gums. In my life before dentistry, I was part of that group thought too. What is it about our oral health or bleeding gums that is so “shrug” ready? Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? If you started bleeding from your hand from moderate physical activity and no obvious wound, would that concern you? If you started bleeding from your eye because you just rubbed it, would you seek medical attention? Needless to say, most everyone would in those circumstances. So, why is it that when we have bleeding gums every time we brush and floss we think it is no big deal or don’t even think twice about it?
Many people will experience bleeding gums on occasion, when they brush and floss their teeth. Although this shouldn’t be considered as normal, this experience is usually due to the fact that these people do not regularly brush and floss or they just started their New Year’s resolution. Many times when gums are inflamed in the early stages of gingivitis (gum inflammation) the gums are sore and people avoid brushing/flossing the area, from either the pain or they believe it is from brushing or flossing too hard; but it is brushing and flossing that fixes the issue. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it univocally means there is a serious gum infection called periodontal disease.
According to the American Academy of Periodontics, almost half of all Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease. For Americans over 65 years of age, the number increases to almost 80 percent! Periodontal disease occurs after prolonged gingivitis. Gingivitis is the only time pain is involved in the gum disease cycle. Once people progress onto periodontitis, it will be rather painless and will no longer provoke a thought of concern.
Gum disease develops when microorganisms in the mouth attach to plaque (sticky biofilm on teeth), which is allowed to build up on tooth surfaces and along the gum line. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to a more serious infection, bone loss around the tooth, and even tooth loss. It is also possible that oral bacteria can gain access to the blood system may contribute to other systemic diseases or exacerbate other diseases.
If you have bleeding gums, we encourage you to come in for a routine examination, x-rays, and cleaning. This will allow Dr. Stone and our hygienists to gain a full understanding of your oral health and conditions to prescribe the appropriate treatment. Our hygienist will use a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Contact us via the Internet: http://www.northernhillsdentist.com/Contact-Us-Schedule-Appointment or call us at (605) 584-2983. Once we are able to treat your gum disease and other possible dental issues, we will help you keep your teeth for a lifetime!