When one does not regularly brush or floss teeth, one of the most likely medical conditions they will get is gum disease. There are various types of infections directly infecting the mouth, mainly the teeth and gums, and almost all of them are preventable with simple commitment to daily hygiene habits. The two most basic of the mouth hygiene habits is regular flossing teeth and brushing teeth. The nature of the mouth is such that there is a lot of bacterial activity, making the mouth a perfect breeding ground for various health conditions including gum inflammation or gingivitis and gum disease or periodontitis.
What Do Bleeding Gums Indicate?
The overall effect of disease in the mouth is a systematic destruction of tissue surrounding the teeth and eventual loss of teeth. After the food we eat interacts with saliva in the first stage of digestion, which is chewing, the mouth produces a thin film of a substance that tends to be sticky and coats the teeth and tongue. This substance, plaque, is what we seek to reduce through the daily habits of brushing the teeth and tongue. Without the regular brushing, plaque accumulates in the mouth providing a thriving environment for bacteria.
The earliest sign of a mouth in trouble, resulting from prolonged accumulation of plaque, is bleeding gums. Although not all bleeding gums indicate disease, bleeding accompanied by reddening of the gums and pain indicate the onset of gingivitis. Infected gums are a bright red color especially at the point where the tooth meets with the gums and brushing teeth becomes increasingly painful. Unfortunately, when the mouth gets to the point of disease, the condition is no longer preventable and the patient will have to find a dentist to help cure gingivitis.
From Bleeding Gums to Irreparable Damage to Teeth
At this point, however, the patient still has a lot of room for the dentist to recommend medication and reverse the progression of the infection. The damage to the teeth is not permanent and no damage will occur to the teeth and skeleton if the patient goes to a doctor at this point. However, not everyone is diligent in seeking medical help and some may tarry until the condition becomes irreparable. In the second stage of gingivitis, the space between tooth and gum becomes much wider. The teeth also start to decay slowly putting more room between the tooth and the gum and a new place for plaque to lodge.
The new lodging of plaque provides an even better environment for bacterial activity. This is the onset of periodontitis and bacterial activity will spread and severely affect the gum line. Periodontitis means there is high activity of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth leading to a breaking down of the tissue connecting the tooth to the skeleton. The most advanced forms of periodontitis means the tooth becomes weaker in its socket and a patient may eventually lose the teeth.
Other Possible Causes of Gum Disease
Of course, we already know that the leading cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Lifestyle choices can also lead to dental problems. Habits such as smoking, crushing hard objects, using the teeth for wrong functions such as opening bottles, are all habits contributing to poor tooth health. Some life changes including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, often associated with hormonal changes, can trigger gum disease. Patients with other underlying health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and any disease requiring heavy medication increase the risk of gum disease multiple fold.