What is Periodontitis?
Your gums are bleeding. Nothing new, they bleed every time you floss, right? It’s just the way things are sometimes. Bleeding regularly when you clean your teeth is not normal. It’s a sign of a serious disease called periodontitis, sometimes called “gum disease”. It doesn’t just make your gums bleed. Periodontitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by infection, and it can break down your jawbone and cause you to lose your teeth.
If plaque is not removed from the surface of your teeth, it will harden into a thick substance called calculus, or tartar. When tartar develops below the gumline, the bacteria in it start to wreak havoc on your immune system. Essentially, your body turns against itself in a desperate fight to oust those bacteria. The bone and soft tissues that support the teeth are attacked and destroyed. This can lead to the loss of your teeth.
Since periodontitis usually doesn’t hurt, it is important to watch out for warning signs. If your gums are swollen, red, or bleed easily, you may have gum disease. Receding gums, loose teeth, and persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth are common symptoms. Many people don’t realize that these effects are related, or that they are a sign of something serious.
The longer your gum disease goes without treatment, the more severe the consequences will be. Catching it early is important: the earlier you treat it, the better the outcome.
A mild case of periodontitis will likely only require scaling and root planing to remove the tartar from below the gumline. This procedure is sometimes known as “deep cleaning.” People who treat mild periodontitis often see good improvement in their condition, and any bone that has been lost is usually able to be repaired at this point. Further progression of the disease may require surgery, and could even require the removal of teeth that are unable to be saved. Your dentist may also prescribe a course of antibiotics to help combat the bacteria responsible for the condition.
The best way to combat gum diseases is keeping up with regular brushing and flossing. Make sure to floss properly to remove everything from between the teeth that could cause harm. Remember, even if you don’t see large amounts of stuff coming out on the floss, you are still doing a lot of good for yourself. If you have already contracted the disease, brushing and flossing is even more important, as it helps keep the disease in check. Periodontitis cannot ever be fully reversed, but you can keep it from getting worse.
So, your gums are bleeding. You should call right away to make an appointment with Dr. Pham to have that evaluated. After all, bleeding, from your gums or anywhere else, is never a good sign.