Lately, your gums have been bleeding when you brush and floss. You might think this is only a minor problem that doesn’t need medical attention, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Bleeding gums are a common symptom of gum disease, which is a serious bacterial infection in your gums. Should you get it treated by your dentist? Read on to find out why you should.
Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease has two main stages: gingivitis and then periodontitis. The first stage can be characterized by relatively mild symptoms like bleeding gums, red or tender gums, and persistent bad breath. The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed before serious damage is done, often with improved brushing and flossing.
Periodontitis, the second stage, is much more serious. By this point, bacteria have attacked the bone that supports your teeth and keeps them anchored in place. Once gum disease reaches this advanced stage, irreversible damage has already been done.
Consequences of Untreated Gum Disease
If you don’t seek treatment for your gum disease, it can lead to some serious health problems. When bacteria target the bone that supports your teeth, it can cause your teeth to become loose in their sockets. Eventually, your teeth could even fall out! In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States, mainly because people don’t seek treatment for the condition before it’s too late.
Believe it or not, your mouth isn’t the only part of your body that can be negatively impacted by gum disease. Bacteria in your mouth can quickly spread to other areas of your body, such as your heart or your pancreas. Advanced gum disease has been linked to multiple other health issues like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, and pregnancy complications.
How Your Dentist Can Treat Gum Disease
Fortunately, there are ways to treat even advanced gum disease. The most common is called scaling and root planing, also known as a dental deep cleaning. Scaling is when your dentist removes built-up plaque and tartar from your teeth at and below your gumline. Root planing involves smoothing out the rough edges of your tooth roots, eliminating bacteria and making it more difficult for them to attach to your teeth and gums in the future.
Sometimes, your dentist may couple a dental deep cleaning with antibiotic therapy. This can come in the form of either pills or a topical medication applied directly to the gums to kill off any bacteria that might have been missed during scaling and root planing.
If you’re wondering whether you should get your bleeding gums treated by your dentist, the answer is a definite yes. Do it not only so your mouth will feel better, but to prevent other health issues that could arise as a result of gum disease.
About the Author
Dr. Rodney L. Allen has been a dentist serving the Parker, CO community for more than 20 years and counting. He obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Baylor College of Dentistry. He has also taken extensive continuing education courses through Spear Education. His practice offers scaling and root planing as well as antibiotic therapy to treat gum disease. If you exhibit any of its symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit Dr. Allen’s website.