Did you know that gum disease affects about half of the adult population in the United States? This is a little less than 65 million people! It is one of the most common reasons why people visit the dentist’s office. Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease and it has serious consequences for dental health. It is a chronic disease that can occur quickly in different people. In the most severe cases, gum disease leads to infection and the loss of teeth.
Bleeding gums has a close connection to the way we brush and floss our teeth. Most people neglect proper tooth brushing but the fact is that plaque removal is only one point. Gum disease may be a result of different health issues. In this article, we gathered four signs that you have gum disease.
1. Bleeding gums
You should know that gums shouldn’t bleed while brushing or flossing. If you don’t floss every day, the accumulation of bacteria under the gums can lead to bleeding every time you brush your teeth. The bleeding usually worsens if you don’t improve the situation.
Bleeding can also be accompanied by gum swelling, redness, and soreness. Tooth sensitivity can also occur and may be associated with gum recession from infected gums. People usually ask if it’s better to stop flossing when their gums are bleeding. But if you don’t floss, plaque will destroy the fibers that attach the gum tissue to your teeth and cause gingivitis. This plaque contains bacteria that lead to inflammation in the gums.
When it comes to bleeding gums, there are more issues than just pain and discomfort that are usually associated with this condition. Despite the fact that this is enough for most people, there are still problems that can occur after the onset of bleeding if it is associated with gum disease.
When your blood is exiting your gum tissue, it may allow other things to enter your bloodstream. This means that the harmful bacteria that are accumulating in your mouth can access your bloodstream and cause a lot of different problems.
These bacteria attach to platelets in the blood and form clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack. If this happens, some other potential health problems can occur as well. Gum disease is associated with many serious diseases. There is a close association with a heart attack and stroke. If you notice that your gums are bleeding, then it’s high time to get a dental examination.
A dental check-up will distinguish the severity of your bleeding gums. There are some common stages of bleeding gums that you should be aware of:
- Bleeding during or after brushing. This is when you notice red or dark spots on your brush or floss. Your aim here is to disturb plaque and this shows that you are doing just that.
- Gums are bleeding more often. You may find blood when you eat or even when there is no stimulation at all.
- Bleeding occurs on its own and not only while brushing. Gums can bleed without any reason at all. This means that the inflammation is advancing to more severe stages.
- Gums begin to change their color from light pink to deep red. It means that there are more immune-regulated cells in the vessels. Gingivitis advances as the immune response decreases. This signals the process that starts destroying the gum tissue. Light red blood means that there is oxygen in it. The dark color of gums shows a lack of oxygen, which is associated with the types of bacteria that grow in an oxygen-free environment.
2. Gum recession or gum pockets
If your teeth began to look like they are getting longer, it may be a condition called gum recession. This could be because the gums that surround them are decreasing. Gum recession is one of the most common symptoms of gum disease.
In the case of gum recession, the depth of the gum collar around the teeth increases. In the later stages of gum disease, these pockets become deeper. It becomes more difficult to remove food and debris with the help of brushing and flossing alone. This leads to a gradual deepening of the pockets and worsening of gum disease.
Unfortunately, most people consider gum recession as a normal part of aging. Maybe you have heard the phrase “long in the tooth” as a description of old people. It means that the gum line tends to shrink and expose more of the tooth surface. But the fact is that there is nothing normal or inevitable about gum recession. This condition can be prevented for most of us.
Gum recession and gum pockets are two different conditions:
Gum recession is a decrease of gum tissue around the tooth that leads to root exposure. A dentist can take measurements along the outer surface of the tooth to determine how much gum is recessed or has moved over time.
Measurements vary from person to person in the sense that 4 mm reading may be insignificant for one person but may not be suitable for another. With the help of this measurement and tracking its progression, dentists can give some recommendations for dental care and involve a periodontal specialist if necessary.
Gum pockets are the space between the teeth and gums. Dentists measure gum pockets with “charting” or “probing” in order to determine the general gum condition. A dentist usually places a probe between the tooth and gums to find out where the gum attachment begins. This is called the bottom of the pocket.
Dentists take six measurements for each tooth to determine the presence of gum disease. Keeping these records year after year helps maintain a healthy periodontium and may prevent tooth loss and periodontal disease. A normal range of a gum pocket is about 1-3 mm. Anything higher may indicate infection and gum disease.
3. Tooth sensitivity
Gum recession or gum pockets can result in tooth sensitivity. Moreover, tooth sensitivity may be a symptom of gum disease. Chronically inflamed gums expose the root surface of the tooth and this makes the tooth more susceptible to wear in the root surface, tooth sensitivity, caries, and potential tooth loss.
Tooth sensitivity usually occurs when a person consumes cold or hot drinks and food. If your symptoms get worse, it is better to see your dentist and determine if they are related to gum disease.
4. High blood sugar
If you have high blood sugar, you may have type 2 diabetes or be at risk. The connection between gum disease and type 2 diabetes is bi-directional. People with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease and it will progress much faster. Therefore, let your dentist know if you have type 2 diabetes.
The most common signs of high blood sugar are:
- Increased thirst
- Blurred vision
- Problems with concentration
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue or loss of energy
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is better to contact your family doctor in order to check your blood sugar. If you visited a dentist and were diagnosed with gum disease, you should check your blood sugar as well because these conditions are closely related to inflammation in the body.