Do your gums bleed when you brush and floss? A lot of people think this is a normal, but it can be a sign that you have gum disease. Also referred to as periodontal disease, it is a big problem in this country, with some estimates citing that half of all adults over the age of 30 have it.
Many of those people don’t know they have gum disease, so they are not getting treatment. The reason for this is probably because not everyone who has gum disease experiences bleeding gums or any other symptoms.
The only way to know for sure if your gums are healthy is to see your dentist. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your gum health with routine visits to the dentist. At Lee J. Martin, DMD, we recommend our patients see us twice each year for regular examinations and cleanings.
If you are overdue for a dental check-up, we invite you to give us a call! We always accept new patients.
The Connection Between Gum Health and Overall Health
Although gum disease puts your oral health at risk, it can also impact your overall wellbeing. More and more studies point to a connection between the health of your gums and that of the rest of your body. Scientists have linked gum disease to serious conditions, including stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to deliver low birth weight babies.
Gum disease can be reversed in its earliest stages, so it’s crucial to have routine checkups at your dentist.
Signs of Gum Disease
As mentioned, gum disease is often present with no symptoms at all, but if you have any of the following signs, you should see your dentist immediately.
- Bleeding gums after brushing and flossing
- Red and swollen gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus-filled pockets around the gums
Many of these indicate that early stage gum disease—called gingivitis—has already progressed. Gum disease in its more serious stage is called periodontitis.
If your gums are already pulling away from your teeth or your teeth feel loose, you are at a high risk of losing your teeth.
Causes of Gum Disease
Gum disease often comes down to little more than poor oral care and not having your teeth professional cleaned twice a year. Everyone develops plaque buildup on their teeth, and when you don't remove it, it hardens into tartar, or calculus. The only way to get rid of it is with the specialized dental instruments your dental hygienist uses to clean your teeth.
Smokers are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, as are people who don’t take good care of their overall health or those who have a family history of the disease.
Treating Gum Disease
If Dr. Martin determines that you have gum disease, he will recommend a deep cleaning. This will help get rid of the plaque and bacteria that have collected below the gumline. He will recommend more frequent cleanings than twice a year, based on the current condition of your gums.
Call us today to make an appointment!