Bleeding, swollen, sore or infected gums are all common signs of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to serious complications and eventual loss of teeth. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact us for a dental examination so we can determine the cause and get you started on the best line of treatment.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an inflammatory condition caused by bacterial infection. It’s a very common condition – in fact, most adults will experience it at least once in their lifetime. It’s much less common in children. There are two forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
What causes gum disease?
If you don’t regularly brush your teeth to remove plaque, it builds up and irritates your gums, eventually causing gum disease. Less common causes of gum disease include:
- Medications, specifically those that cause overgrowth of gum tissue
- Medical conditions, such as diabetes
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies (often caused by poor nutrition)
- Genetics – some patients are genetically more susceptible to gum disease
- Viral or fungal infections
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease that only affects the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. It’s essentially inflammation of the gums, and is caused by a build-up of plaque and harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Symptoms of gingivitis
Gum disease is not usually painful in the early stages, but keep an eye out of for these signs and symptoms:
- Bleeding gums when you brush
- Red, swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Swollen gums
If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more serious condition called periodontitis.
Periodontitis (sometimes called periodontal disease or destructive gum disease) is more severe than gingivitis. It can spread below the gum and cause damage to the tissues, ligaments and bone in your jaw. This damage cannot be reversed.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Gum recession
- Pus emanating from the gums
- Dark, triangular gaps between the teeth
- Loose teeth, or teeth changing position
If periodontitis is left untreated, it can cause damage to your jawbone and create small spaces between the gum and the teeth. Eventually, it can also damage the supporting structures around the teeth, and may even cause them to fall out.
How to treat gum disease
While periodontitis will require regular and ongoing dental and at-home treatment, gum disease that is diagnosed in the early stages (gingivitis) can be successfully treated by the following methods:
- A thorough dental examination to determine the health of your gums
- Improved brushing, flossing and dental hygiene to regularly remove plaque
- Regular professional cleans and check-ups at the dentist.
Other causes of bleeding gums
In rare cases, bleeding or swollen gums can be the symptom of something other than gum disease. Other causes can include medical conditions and inflammation. A dental examination will determine if your gum problems are the result of gum disease or something else.
The quicker you treat bleeding gums, the better. Book an appointment with Sleep Dentistry Melbourne online or give us a call on 1300 255 600.