Have you noticed a little pink mixed in with your toothpaste and saliva when you brush your teeth lately? Do you pull the floss away from your teeth only notice small, red droplets among the plaque and food debris? Even if your gums bleed slightly when you brush and floss, they probably don’t hurt, and therefore, may not seem like a big deal. However, when healthy, your gums shouldn’t bleed, and if they do, then your oral health may be at risk of developing destructive gum disease.
A Close Look at Gingivitis
As your dentist, and most mouthwash commercials, always proclaim, gingivitis is a serious dental health issue that can wreak havoc with your oral tissues if not prevented, or treated early. As the first stage of gum disease, gingivitis describes an infection in your gums caused by excessive deposits of bacteria-rich dental plaque.
As the bacteria settle along your gum line, they release toxins that cause the tissue to separate from your teeth, and small pockets will form that allow more bacteria to gather underneath your gums. Eventually, the infection and resulting inflammation will mature into gum disease, which can destroy the tissues and jawbone supporting your teeth and lead to permanent tooth loss.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Besides bleeding gums, other symptoms that can warn you of gingivitis and gum disease may include;
- Swollen, puffy gums
- Gum recession (separation from your teeth)
- Darker colored gum tissues
- Persistent bad breath
If you notice these or other signs of potential gum disease development, then visit your dentist as soon as possible for a comprehensive examination, and an appropriate treatment plan, if necessary.