Everyone bleeds a little bit when they brush, right? And flossing just makes it worse? Actually, no. As long as you’re not stabbing at your gums when you brush, there shouldn’t be any bleeding. If you see blood when you spit out your toothpaste, you are probably seeing one of the signs of gum disease. And that could be a very bad thing.
What Exactly Is Gum Disease?
Everyone knows that cavities are one of the biggest problems you have to look out for with your teeth. Harmful bacteria that live in your mouth can settle down on your teeth, secreting an acid that slowly but surely decays your enamel. But these same bacteria can settle on your gums instead of your teeth. That same acid can start to irritate your gums, which is called gingivitis.
At that stage, your gum disease is treatable. With our gum disease treatments, we can stop gingivitis from getting worse and can even get rid of it. But when gingivitis is not taken care of by a dentist, the bacteria causing the problem can get into your gums instead of just staying on top. This state of the disease is called periodontitis. Once this happens, gum disease cannot be cured. It can be treated, and our dentists can help you manage the disease, but the bacteria will never fully leave your gums. That’s why early detection and treatment is so important — advanced gum disease is permanent.
How To Know If You Have Gum Disease
Now that you know it can become permanent, you’re probably wondering if you have gum disease. There are several signs to look out for that might indicate gingivitis or periodontitis:
- Your gums are tender to the touch, feel a bit swollen, or look reddish in spots. Sometimes we damage our gums with aggressive flossing or hot foods, so don’t panic if you saw red gums once. But if your gums are consistently tender, swollen, and/or red, you could have gum disease.
- Your gums bleed after you’ve brushed and flossed. Likewise, your gums shouldn’t normally bleed when you brush your teeth. You might occasionally cut your gums if you use a hard-bristled toothbrush or floss like crazy, so if you see blood when you spit out your toothpaste, try taking it easy for a few days and see if that changes. If you’re still seeing blood, that’s almost
- definitely a sign of gum disease.
- You have receding gums. When your gums are infected by bacteria, they start to pull away from the teeth, creating small pockets where the gums should be. These tiny pockets can trap food particles when you eat, giving more food for that bacteria, which only makes things worse.
- Your teeth are loose. Eventually, your body’s immune system will try to attack the infection. But in the process, it will also damage the tissues that keep your teeth in your mouth. This can cause your teeth to feel loose and, given enough time, to even fall out.
How We Can Work Together To Prevent Gum Disease
Yes, you could lose your teeth if you have gum disease. As with tooth decay, there are a number of things our dentists at our Bridgeport/Trumbull and Shelton dental offices can do to help get rid of gingivitis and manage periodontitis. Root planing and scaling is a treatment that reaches below the gumline to get rid of bacteria, plaque, and tartar on the teeth and gums. This can help stop gingivitis and mild periodontitis and keep your gums healthy. We can also use a special dental laser called PerioLase to painlessly remove infected gum tissue.
You can help as well. First, always brush and floss like you’re supposed to. Doing so helps get rid of the food particles bacteria thrive on. Anticavity rinses can also be a big help with this. Second, make sure you visit either our Bridgeport/Trumbull office or our Shelton office every six months for a professional cleaning and exam. No matter how well you clean your teeth, few people have the training and special tools to get teeth professionally clean. Lastly, look out for the signs of gum disease. If your gums are sore and bleeding, or if your teeth are loose, call us immediately for the next available appointment.
Call either of our two Connecticut offices — Bridgeport/Trumbull at 203-372-1220 or Shelton at 203-378-9737 — to learn more about how we can prevent and treat gum disease so you can have healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime.