Periodontal (or gum) inflammation is a response of the body to the onslaught of bacterial toxins and acids underneath the gums. Various factors such as diabetes, smoking, genetics, etc. can change the severity of the body’s response to these bacterial products. Inflammation results in redness and swelling of the gums. The body will send a lot of immune cells to try to remove the irritating substances that are residing in the gums. This immune response is essential for the body to ward off infections, however, in a situation where the oral hygiene is not good, the inflammatory response becomes chronic and the body is not able to return to normal health. This causes the eventual breakdown of the bone that holds the teeth in place. Symptoms of periodontal inflammation include bleeding and red gums. More advanced cases lead to loosening of the teeth and pus exuding from the gums. The by-products of inflammation eventually overtake the body’s system of repair resulting in permanent damage. The only way to break this cycle is by performing meticulous oral hygiene (simple brushing and flossing) on a daily basis.
If you ever notice blood on your tooth brush after brushing your teeth, chances are that there is gum disease present. There should not be one drop of blood present on a brush or floss after use. These warning signs should be heeded earlier as opposed with later. Before you run to the dentist with bleeding gums, it is best to try a regimen of good oral hygiene first. Just simple but thorough brushing and flossing a couple of times a day can go a long way in stopping bleeding gums. I have actually had patients who have told me that they purposely did not floss because every time that they did, it made their gums bleed. What they didn’t realize was that by not flossing, it left the bacterial plaque behind that is the cause of the bleeding in the first place. The patients were thinking that the mechanical cleaning with the floss was what was causing the bleeding to occur, whereas, it was actually the gum disease itself that caused the problem. It may still take a trip to the dentist for a professional cleaning for the bleeding to subside. But by doing the good home care ahead of time, it can be the first step toward eliminating gum disease in your mouth.