Columbus, GA dentist Dr. Albert Caves is highly experienced with preventive care and managed treatment of bleeding gums, gingivitis, and gum disease. We take gum disease very seriously as it is linked to several serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Bleeding gums are one of the dental concerns Dr. Albert Caves addresses for new and existing patients in Columbus, GA.
According to the American Dental Association, more than 7 out of 10 adults suffer from some form of gum disease. An early indication of gum disease is bleeding gums. When intercepted early by the dentist, gum disease can be easily managed with little risk of further infection.
The Stages of Gum Disease
There are four different stages of gum disease. Bleeding gums are one of the most prominent symptoms of gum disease. If you notice your gums bleeding regularly, immediately bring it to our attention.
This is the first stage of gum disease and the only one that’s reversible. When you don’t brush and floss your teeth, bacteria, and debris build up in your mouth. They form a sticky film on your teeth called plaque. When you continue to not properly care for your oral health, plaque hardens and becomes a stronger layer called tartar. This buildup at the gum line irritates the gum tissue, causing inflammation.
Many adults in the United States have gingivitis and may not even realize it. The symptoms for it aren’t particularly painful. The most noticeable one is usually bleeding gums, particularly if it’s happening regularly. Diligent oral healthcare can usually reverse the condition at this stage. We may have you come in for extra cleanings or prescribe you an antibacterial rinse to ensure the condition is handled.
Mild Periodontal Disease
At this stage, the condition can no longer be reversed. The bacteria become more aggressive and start to attack the jawbone, contributing to bone loss. We use scaling and root planing to manage the condition. You develop gum pockets between the tissue and bone that fill with debris and bacteria. We clean out those gum pockets and smooth down any rough tooth roots so that the gum tissue can reattach to the bone properly.
Moderate Periodontal Disease
The bacteria continue to get more aggressive in this stage. Not only are they attacking your bone, but they’re getting into your bloodstream as well. Your blood can carry the infection and inflammation around to other parts of your body. Gum disease doesn’t just impact your mouth. Scaling and root planing are used at this stage as well.
Severe Periodontal Disease
At this stage, the infection has completely taken over. Your gums are swollen and ooze pus. You experience severe bad breath, and it’s painful to chew or bite your food. Because their foundation is eating away, your teeth start to loosen and are at risk of falling out. Periodontal surgery or laser gum treatment are the only options to take care of it at this stage.
Treatment of Bleeding Gums
If you notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you should inform Dr. Caves on your next visit. There are several treatment options for bleeding gums, depending on your condition:
- Routine Dental Cleaning: The best way for you to prevent gum disease and bleeding gums is with routine visits to our Columbus, GA dentist office. Our dental cleanings are performed by a dental hygienist who will gently remove plaque and tartar from around the teeth and gums.
- Scaling & Root Planing: If you have bleeding gums, Dr. Caves may recommend an intensive cleaning procedure known as scaling and root planing. The dentist will remove plaque and tartar from deep pockets of the gum and smooth the surface of tooth roots.
- Periodontal Therapy: Periodontal therapy can include any of the treatments above and gum surgery for patients suffering from periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. We may perform periodontal therapy and gum surgery in our Columbus, GA dental office or refer you to a specialist for treatment.
How To Avoid Bleeding Gums
Aggressive brushing and flossing can cause bleeding gums even when gum disease is not an issue. Always use a soft toothbrush and brush using a gentle, circular motion. Brushing back and forth can damage gums, making them more likely to bleed and/or recede.
When flossing, carefully slide the floss between teeth and gently follow the curve of each tooth. Forcing the floss up and down can cut gums, causing them to bleed.
Bleeding Gums FAQs
You may have difficulty determining when you should reach out to your dentist about bleeding gums. Read more to determine the answer to that and other frequently asked questions about bleeding gums.
When should I be concerned about bleeding gums?
Not all instances of bleeding gums mean that you have gum disease. If it only happens once, there’s a solid chance that you just brushed or flossed too hard. But if you’re maintaining good oral hygiene and it’s continuing, it’s time to contact your dentist, particularly if it worsens. If your gums are bleeding multiple times a week, that’s a warning sign that it might be a bigger problem than just oral healthcare habits.
Will my bleeding gums get better if I brush my teeth more often?
There’s no guarantee that things will get better, even with diligent oral healthcare. It depends on how far the infection has evolved, which you can’t really tell on your own. It’s important to schedule an appointment in the office as soon as you notice this is becoming a regular issue.
How long does it take to reverse gingivitis?
Usually, it only takes a few weeks for gingivitis to clear up after treatment. This is if you’re taking care of your oral health properly and following a diligent brushing and flossing schedule recommended by the dentist. The condition can only clear up if you’re doing your part.
Are bleeding gums contagious?
If your gums are bleeding due to gum disease, it can be contagious through saliva. When you’re kissing, you share saliva and bacteria with your kissing partner. If you have gum disease, you’re more likely to spread it with a kissing partner.
Are bleeding gums common?
Gingivitis and bleeding gums are more common than you may realize. As much as 90% of the population has gum disease at any given moment. The early stages don’t have painful or intense symptoms, so many people don’t realize it. The best way to tell if you have gingivitis, is by monitoring your bleeding gums.
Can age cause bleeding gums?
As we age, many things change. Both medication side effects and other medical issues can make your mouth more susceptible to gum disease. We also become more forgetful and may not be brushing and flossing regularly. The diet can change, too, as older people tend to have a decreased appetite. Eating poorly makes you more likely to get gum disease because you’re not getting the proper nutrition.
Schedule an Appointment
Are you noticing your gums bleeding when you’re brushing your teeth? Call us or schedule an appointment online to get a checkup.