Time to Problem Solve
Improper or inconsistent dental hygiene can lead to bacteria buildup in the mouth, which results in red, swollen, and bleeding gums. This condition, called gingivitis, is quite common, and is not particularly painful for many people. If left untreated, however, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which is a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss.
What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis will cause your gums to become red, swollen, and soft, instead of pink and firm. Your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and/or floss, you could also have persistent bad breath. Gingivitis is caused by poor oral hygiene habits. Oral bacteria continuously form a sticky substance called plaque. If the plaque isn’t brushed off or flossed away quickly, it will harden into a substance called tartar. The presence of both plaque and tartar will irritate that part of your gums (like a splinter) and lead to gingivitis. Plaque also causes tooth decay. The good news is that if you catch gingivitis in its early stages and practice proper dental hygiene, you can reverse the effects.
You are at a risk for gingivitis if you:
- have diabetes
- are older
- don’t brush and floss regularly
- have a suppressed immune system
- take certain medications
- abuse drugs or alcohol
- have dry mouth
- are pregnant
Why Flossing is Important
One of the common things you hear people say is that they don’t floss because it makes their gums bleed. However, it’s very important to floss at least twice a day to remove the plaque that can’t be reached by a tooth brush. Even if you already have gingivitis, you should continue to floss so that plaque doesn’t have a chance to turn to tartar, which can eventually lead to periodontitis if it’s not removed. Once you’ve been brushing and flossing regularly, your gums should return to a healthy pink, and you should not see bleeding.
Tartar? Time to See a Pittsburgh Periodontist
If you notice blood during and after brushing or flossing, you should make an appointment with your dentist for a cleaning, or your dentist will refer you to a North Hills periodontist like Dr. Werkmeister. Your oral health is very important to your overall health, so call him today to set up an appointment.