Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing can be an indication of developing periodontal disease. Seeking treatment for bleeding gums is essential to avoid the progression of the disease and more complex dental concerns. Dr. Tu offers comprehensive diagnosis and dental care for gum disease in our North Liberty dental office. Our team screens for the early signs of gum disease during routine dental visits to help you maintain gum health.
What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal or gum disease is an infection of the gum tissues that stems from bacteria in the mouth. Poor oral hygiene, certain medical conditions or a genetic predisposition can enable bacteria to remain on teeth and gums, creating a sticky substance called plaque. Over time this can harden into tartar and impact the health of the gum tissue, causing it to break down and pull away from the tooth roots. Poor gum health can also lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities.
Gum disease is also called a “silent disease” because most patients do not realize they have it until it is identified during routine visits or it leads to bigger problems such as increased tooth sensitivity, loose teeth or changes in the fit if the bite. It is also progressive in nature, developing slowly and over time so that changes can often be subtle until they are more complex. Gum disease presents in two stages:
- Gingivitis: early-stage disease that is characterized by bleeding gums, red or swollen gums and minor symptoms.
- Periodontitis: advanced gum disease becomes more obvious with signs and symptoms that can include pockets developing around the teeth, loose teeth and changes in your bite.
The gums serve two important roles in both oral and overall health which can become compromised when gum disease progresses. The gums provide a stable, nurturing environment for the teeth and also help prevent bacteria in the mouth from entering the bloodstream. Poor gum and oral health have been linked to an increased risk for developing inflammatory-related disease and conditions including cardiovascular disease and systemic conditions. If you have an existing disease or are diabetic, maintaining healthy gums will support disease management.
Treatment for Bleeding Gums
Dr. Tu will thoroughly evaluate the condition of your gums and overall dental health as part of a comprehensive approach to a diagnosis and treatment plan. There is a range of options for addressing the symptoms and effects of gum disease and recommended treatment will depend upon the stage of gum disease and any damage.
Treatment can range from simple changes in your daily oral hygiene to intensive cleanings or even gum surgery if periodontitis is present. Dr. Tu will present all options and discuss what to expect after your exam.