“Dr. Bodak, my gums bleed when I brush my teeth. Is that normal?”
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Your gums should not bleed when you properly brush your teeth, but this is a common problem. Bleeding gums, which may be painless, and bad breath are early signs of periodontal disease, such as gingivitis. If you ignore gum disease, your teeth will go away…permanently. Listen to what Whoopi Goldberg has to say about her experience with gum disease and the importance of caring for your teerth and gums.
I recommend regular brushing with a good quality, extra soft toothbrush replaced at regular intervals. The tooth brush should be soft with rounded end bristles. Brushing cleans 60% of the tooth surface. To clean the 40% of tooth surface hidden between teeth, brushing must be followed by flossing. Proper brushing and flossing, which are essential components of good oral hygiene home car, remove biofilm (plaque), the layer of bacteria on the teeth that leads to tooth decay, tartar buildup and gum disease. Professional dental cleaning can remove tartar deposits, accumulated bacteria and help keep your teeth and gums healthy. But if you already have gum disease, you need professional dental care.
When harmful bacteria thrive in gum tissue and the bony sockets supporting each tooth, gum disease can progress to severe periodontal bone damage and tooth loss. Did you know that 80% of U.S. adults have periodontal gum disease? Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Certain individuals, such as smokers and those with diabetes, are more vulnerable to gum disease. There may be effects beyond the teeth and gums. Gum disease can affect the entire body, causing silent systemic illness in the heart, blood vessels and the brain.
“What is peridontal gum disease and can I treat it myself?
Normal healthy gums and bone anchor your teeth firmly in place. Every day, bacteria, mucous and other particles form a layer of plaque (“biofilm”) that coats your teeth and gums. This can be removed by thorough brushing and flossing. If left in place, the plaque hardens into deposits of tartar which can removed by a professional cleaning at your dentist’s office. If the plaque and tartar remain untreated, the gums become red and swollen, and will start to bleed. This is gingivitis, the earliest stage of periodontal disease.
Periodontitis is a chronic infectious and inflammatory disease of gums and supporting bone. It is caused by several types of harmful bacteria which do not overgrow in the healthy mouth. Tartar and bacteria build up around the base of the crown of the tooth, at and below the gum line. These deposits cause the gum to pull away (“receding gums”), creating pockets. Bacteria lodge in these pockets around the tooth, further damaging the gums and weakening the tooth’s bony support. System effects of periodontal disease may already be present in the body.
In advanced periodontal disease, there has been ongoing damage to the bone and ligaments supporting the teeth. The gums and bone have receded, exposing portions of the tooth root. This infection will progress to tooth loss, bone loss of the jaw, and premature facial aging. Advanced periodontal disease is linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and even miscarriage in pregnant women. Some people are more vulnerable to peridontal disease, such as people who smoke or have diabetes.
There is no home or drug store remedy, tooth paste or mouth rinse that will cure or reverse periodontal disease. None of these remove the cause, the bacteria growing in the pockets below the gumline. You cannot treat this yourself at home. The good news is that regular professional periodontal treatment, which can be performed comfortably under local anesthesia, can control your gum disease. Professional periodontal treatment can help to preserve your teeth and improve your health.
What our patients are saying about how we have helped them!
Laura Ryan, patient since 1995
We perform many types of periodontal procedures for the treatment of gum disease, including active phase therapy such as periodontal scaling and root planing, as well as periodontal maintenance. Periodontal treatment is designed to contol the chronic infection and reduce inflammatory disease. When your gums are chronically infected, damaging chemicals and toxic enzymes starts to destroy the supporting tissue of your gums and the bone that holds your teeth in place. Periodontal treatment, which can be performed comfortably under local anesthesia, can control your gum disease, preserve your teeth and improve your health.
We offer a year of professional dental periodontal maintenance to control your gum disease. Our periodontal program includes 4 visits per year, for the discounted fee of only $500. Your teeth and gums will be healthier, and your heart and brain will thank you!