One of the first signs of gum disease is bleeding gums. Along with the inflammation and redness can be very bad breath.
The Start of Gingivitis — (Inflamed, Sometimes Bleeding Gums)
Although not always the case, the biggest cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. When bacteria are allowed to accumulate for long periods on your teeth, this usually leads to gum disease.
The bacteria produce acid which will irritate the gums, possibly causing bleeding. Between the bacteria and the acid, an immune response is triggered.
This response will quickly get out of hand. It starts attacking the gums – which will start causing them to recede.
It also attacks the ligaments that support your teeth, and the jawbone. Before long, your teeth could start to become loose, and then they may fall out.
Eliminate Gum Disease Early
When you first notice bleeding gums (seeing the bleeding or tasting blood), it’s time to start working a little harder on your daily oral care.
Gingivitis can usually be easily eliminated at this stage. If you do nothing to improve your oral care, gingivitis becomes periodontitis – and you cannot remove it by yourself.
And that’s because as the gums recede, pockets are formed along the gum line.
Bacteria hide in these pockets and can’t be reached by a toothbrush or flossing.
The deeper the pockets, the more damage. The acids and other toxins from the bacteria destroy tissue and bone that support your teeth.
Halitosis (Bad Breath)
Bacteria in the mouth can cause bad breath. As it consumes the sugary compounds in your food, it produces a bad-smelling sulphide gas.
Not brushing often enough (which should include your tongue), and neglecting to floss, allow food particles to build up and feed the bacteria.
Since gum disease involves growth of bacteria, you can see why it would cause foul breath. Mints will not cure gum disease if it’s the root cause. The mints’ sugar will also feed the bacteria, resulting in more sulphide gas.
Of course, tobacco can cause halitosis, but it also reduces the flow of blood in the gums, restricting their oxygen and nutrients.
This hurts the gums’ immune system and can promote gingivitis.
Beware of Dry Mouth
If you do not have much saliva, it can also promote gum disease. Saliva regularly helps to reduce bacteria and also helps wash away its acid.
Not enough saliva causes dry mouth (xerostomia), and this enables the bacteria to multiply faster – leading to gum disease. This problem can often be remedied by drinking more water or by chewing sugarless gum.
The sooner you visit a dentist to determine the cause of bad breath and bleeding gums, the better.
Gum disease gets worse over time without treatment and becomes more expensive the longer you delay treatment.
In more serious cases, the dentist will likely take an X-ray and measure the depth of the pockets on your gums. The treatment for infection will depend on the level of the disease.
Dr. Vadivel, DDS, is a board certified periodontal surgeon, and Founder-CEO of Implants & Gumcare of Texas, offering affordable restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. Dr. Vadivel has over 25 years of experience.