If you have been experiencing bleeding gums after you brush or floss, you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist who can determine if you are suffering from gingivitis, or the more serious, periodontal disease.
Colgate explains that gingivitis usually precedes periodontal disease; however, it is imperative to understand that not all cases of gingivitis will progress to periodontal disease, especially if you see your dentist and improve your oral health habits.
In the earliest stages of gingivitis, plaque, caused by bacteria, will begin to build up leaving your gums inflamed. It is during this stage that you may notice bleeding while you brush and floss, and although your gums are irritated, your teeth are still firmly planted in the sockets. At this point, no irreversible tissue or bone damage as begun. This is the most important time to see your dentist as if gingivitis is left untreated it can quickly advance to periodontal disease.
If you have periodontal disease, the inner layer of your gums and bone will start to pull away from your teeth forming pockets. The small spaces that lie in between your gums and your teeth will start to collect debris, bacteria, plaque and tartar, which can become infected. Your immune system will do its best to fight the bacteria, which will cause the plaque to spread below your gum line.
Poisons and toxins, which are produced by the bacteria in the plaque along with your good bacterial enzymes that help fight off infections will begin to break down the connective tissue and the bone that holds your teeth in place. Once the periodontal disease begins to progress those pockets will get deeper destroying more bone and gum tissue. When this progression begins, your teeth will no longer be anchored and become loose. It is during this time that tooth loss will occur. According to your dentist, gum disease is the number one reason adults lose their teeth.
Although plaque is the number one cause of gingivitis and periodontal disease there are some other factors that can contribute. These include,
Hormonal changes that occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Certain illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and HIV may also cause gum disease as they interfere with your immune system. Certain medications can also cause gum disease as can smoking or chewing tobacco.
Of course, poor oral hygiene is one of the biggest causes of gum disease and can easily be fixed if you schedule and appointment with your dentist who can show you how to brush and floss properly.