Many people have bleeding gums, but don’t suffer any pain hence they are unlikely to seek treatment. Are bleeding gums a problem, does it matter?
The answer is a resounding YES! If left unchecked, they will continue to deteriorate with swelling, receding gums, loose teeth, bad breath, sensitive teeth and finally tooth loss. If you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms you have got periodontal gum disease. Periodontal disease can progress to tooth loss and is directly linked to heart disease, strokes, respiratory disease and digestive disorders.
How does it start?
It starts with the build up of bacteria in the mouth which invade the gum tissues multiply rapidly forming plaque on the teeth which if left unchecked will harden to form tartar. This leads to the progression of gum disease, with gingival pocket formation, receding gums and bone loss. Bacteria multiply rapidly in the gum pockets round the teeth, producing toxins which destroy gum tissue and bone leading to loose teeth, bleeding gums, swelling and eventually the bacteria can invade the blood stream and spread round the body. Once the bacteria have got into the blood stream, they can spread to other parts of the body causing more serious conditions.
What are the causes?
- The main cause is poor oral hygiene (not cleaning your teeth regularly leads to the build up of plaque).
- Smoking (there is a strong link between smoking and gum disease).
- Poor diet (lack of vitamins such as vitamin C).
- Stress (stress lowers the immune system).
- Drug abuse (many drug addicts have very poor oral hygiene and decayed teeth).
- Dry mouth (people who can’t produce saliva suffer gum problems. Saliva protects the soft tissues of the mouth).
- Hereditary factors (some people are more at risk because of inherited genetic factors.)
- Hormonal factors (women are more likely to suffer gum disease during pregnancy and menopause due to hormonal changes).
- Medication (the oral contraceptive, steroids and anti depressants can all affect the gums).
How do you treat gum disease?
- Establish good oral hygiene through visits to the dentist / hygienist for thorough scaling and polishing of the teeth, to remove all the tartar and plaque from the teeth both above the gum and below the gum.
- Reduce the bacteria levels with mouthwashes, special gels, and regular daily tooth brushing
- Injecting antibiotic gels into infected gum pockets and sometimes oral antibiotics are needed to lower the bacteria levels
- Reduce your sugar intake (sugar helps plaque grow).
- Maintain good oral hygiene with tooth brushing 2/3 times every day, (b) regular use of dental floss and inter-dental brushes (c) using mouthwashes to reduce bacteria and plaque.
- Maintain a healthy diet and make sure you get your vitamins.
How do you maintain healthy gums?
- Visit your Dentist twice a year for proper scaling and polishing.
- Reduce bacterial levels and plaque with regular mouth washing with any mouthwash containing CHLORHEXIDINE such as Corsodyl, Perioaid, Bexident etc or use Listerine which also reduces plaque and bacteria.
- Brush your teeth and floss every day.
- Reduce your sugar intake and eat a healthy diet.
- STOP SMOKING (people who smoke and have poor oral hygiene will get gum disease and loose their teeth and are also likely to suffer HEART DISEASE).
Remember, looking after your teeth and gums leads to a healthy mouth and body. Neglect your mouth and bleeding gums is the least of your problems. It will lead to tooth loss and possible heart disease, strokes and pneumonia. The mouth is the main door to the body, bacteria enter the mouth, multiply rapidly, enter the blood stream from the gums and spread through the body causing systemic diseases. You can reduce the chances of gum disease by simply keeping your teeth, gums and mouth clean with good regular oral hygiene.