Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss? A little “pink in the sink” from time to time may be normal. However, if your gums bleed every time you brush or floss, this may be a warning sign of periodontal disease, caused by the bacteria that forms in dental plaque.
Bacteria and Gum Disease
Swollen, bleeding gums may indicate bacterial infection. Left untreated, the condition progresses, destroying the jawbone structures that support your teeth. Eventually, teeth become loose and must be extracted.
Whereas cavities affect the tooth itself, periodontal disease affects the structures around the teeth, such as gums, bone and ligaments. The culprit is bacteria, found in the sticky plaque which forms on the teeth. You may be surprised to learn plaque begins forming as soon as you stop brushing. But don’t let this stop you from brushing and flossing well each day, as this is the best at-home preventive measure.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
You can prevent periodontal disease with good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups every six months. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, visit the dentist more often. Professional in-office cleanings control plaque in places where your toothbrush or floss may not be able to reach.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
The earliest stage of periodontal disease is called “gingivitis,” and the first signs of gingivitis signal the most important time to see periodontist in Pasadena, Dr. Kar for preventive treatment.
Scientists have linked gum disease to other health problems. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, people with gum disease are more likely to develop heart disease and have trouble controlling their blood sugar. In addition, women with gum disease were observed to be more likely to give birth to premature and low-birth-weight babies. Scientists are not certain that gum disease directly causes these conditions, but these studies nonetheless give you an excellent reason to take good care of your dental health.
Aside from poor oral care or too much time between dental visits, periodontal disease may be caused or worsened by:
- Misaligned, crowded teeth
- Braces or bridgework
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Fluctuating hormones
- Certain medications
- Some systemic diseases
- Poor nutrition
Non-Surgical Treatments for Periodontal Disease
The American Academy of Periodontics insists periodontal disease be treated in the least invasive manner.
Dr. Kar’s first treatment choice for his patients is scaling and root planing, a non-surgical gum disease treatment method for cleaning root surfaces of the tooth to remove plaque and tartar. Scaling and root planing is usually accompanied by the delivery of local antimicrobials to arrest the formation of new bacteria. For patients with periodontal disease, a regular schedule of in-office maintenance will be recommended to promote good oral health.
After your periodontal disease has been treated and controlled, Dr. Kar may recommend various cosmetic procedures to enhance your smile, including dental crowns, teeth whitening, or a dental implant to permanently replace a tooth lost to periodontal disease.