When we see blood in nearly any context, it can be alarming. We typically don’t expect to see blood if you are brushing or flossing your teeth. However, it is not uncommon to have bleeding gums. There are a few reasons why your gums may be bleeding. If you have a small scratch or cut, running your toothbrush over the area may cause it to bleed. Additionally, you may see bleeding if you brush your teeth too hard. Fortunately, these do not cause any major concern.
Yet, bleeding gums can be the first sign of gingivitis–the beginning stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is the inflammation of your gums. Other symptoms include redness, swelling, and bleeding gums. In its early stages, gum disease is highly treatable. Your dentist may recommend an improved oral hygiene routine and a thorough dental cleaning. Without treatment, gum disease can cause severe dental issues.
Effects of Gum Disease
If you do have gum disease, it is vital to seek treatment as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse your symptoms will be. For the best results, you should contact your dentist when you notice bleeding gums. It is better to go to the dentist for a minor issue than wait for it to become a significant problem.
One of the main contributors to gum disease is plaque. Plaque is a type of harmful bacteria that clings to the surfaces of your teeth and soft tissues. Without a proper oral hygiene routine, plaque can continue to build, including underneath the gum line. As the plaque builds, the gums can begin to recede due to irritation and inflammation.
The more the gums recede, the more plaque that will collect, creating a damaging cycle. Eventually, the tooth’s root becomes exposed. This can cause pain and discomfort. In addition, once the roots of your teeth become unprotected, it weakens the foundation of your teeth.
Loose or Missing Teeth
The gums are the foundation for your teeth. Once your gums recede, the structure holding your teeth in place weakens. As a result, your teeth may feel loose or even fall out. While the gums are important for keeping your teeth steady, receding gums allow bacteria to reach farther into your teeth. Typically, the gums provide protection for your teeth’s roots against harmful bacteria. However, receding gums can no longer support or protect your teeth, allowing tooth decay to form at the base of the teeth. This can cause your teeth to decay and fall out.
Another serious problem associated with gum disease is bone deterioration. Much like your teeth and gums, gum disease can also affect your jaw bone. As your teeth and gums decay, your bone can deteriorate. Your bones are just as susceptible to decay as your teeth. When decay is not treated immediately, it will continue to spread. Unfortunately, your jaw can suffer the consequences. The infection can move into the bone, causing its structure to fail.