Many people think bleeding gums while brushing is normal. Bleeding gums are early signs of a Periodontal Disease. In a 1999 study, researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that half of Americans over 30 had bleeding gums.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that forms on your teeth soon after you have brushed. In an effort to get rid of the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release substances that inflame and damage the gums, periodontal ligament or alveolar bone. This leads to swollen, bleeding gums, a sign of gingivitis (the earliest stage of periodontal disease).
Damage from periodontal disease also can cause teeth to become loose. This is a sign of severe periodontitis (the advanced stage of disease) which is a leading cause of tooth loss. Periodontal disease is one of the main reasons for bad breath. Research in recent years, has linked gum disease to other health problems. Researchers are studying possible connections between gum disease and:
1. Atherosclerosis and heart disease — Gum disease may increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. The extent of this connection is unclear. Gum disease also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
2. Stroke — Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke that is caused by blocked arteries.
3. Premature births — A woman who has gum disease during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver her baby too early. The infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight. One study showed that up to 18% of premature, low-birth-weight babies might be linked to the mother's gum disease.
4. Diabetes — Diabetic patients with periodontal disease may have more trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetic patients with healthy gums.
5.Respiratory disease — Gum disease may cause lung infections and worsen existing lung conditions. This is particularly important for elderly adults in institutions such as nursing homes. In this group, bacteria from the mouth may reach the lungs and may cause severe pneumonia.
To help save your teeth, early diagnosis of these gum diseases and treatment is essential. At a regular visit your teeth are examined for signs of periodontal disease, such as red, swollen gums that bleed easily, receded gums, or loose teeth. If you are experiencing the early stages of periodontal disease, Dr. Atraya may help reverse the effects of the disease. Professional cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist will keep plaque under control in places that are harder for a toothbrush or floss to reach. Regular once every six months, professional teeth cleanings, proper brushing, and adequate flossing are your best defenses against these gum diseases. But if you already have gum disease you should visit more often.
You can prevent periodontal disease by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly. Daily brushing and flossing, when done correctly, can help to remove most of the plaque from your teeth.
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