Healthy gums are pink and look tight against the tooth. They will not bleed when the teeth are brushed or flossed. Lack of proper oral hygiene, medical conditions, smoking, dipping snuff, or medications could be factors causing gum disease.
According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology, approximately 75% of American adults have some form of gum disease. Since most gum disease is preventable, this is a sad statistic. Fortunately, with regular dental checkups and consistent proper oral hygiene, gum disease can be cured.
Regular dental checkups can detect gum disease even if the person does not see blood when brushing or flossing. There are different types of gum disease, and only a licensed dentist can diagnose the problem correctly.
A dental specialist called a Periodontist deals with diseases and conditions of the gums. For patients with gum disease, Periodontist will work with the patient to obtain a full history to find the source of the problem. If medications are the cause, he or she will work with the patient’s physician to find a better medication or help the patient with special hygiene techniques.
For mild cases, the Periodontist may recommend consistent and proper hygiene to correct the problem. Other cases may require medication, such as antibiotics, or surgery may be required. Severe cases may require a combination of surgery, medications and tooth extractions.
Gum disease affects the tooth, allowing plaque to form under the space between the gum and the tooth. The plaque builds up, forming sharp edges and is loaded with bacteria. The bacteria attacks the tooth, and the bone surrounding the roots of the tooth. In time, the bone can dissolve, the blood vessels and ligaments feeding and holding the tooth in can die, and the tooth itself can abscess and fall out.
It pays to floss and brush properly every day to have a healthy mouth and smile. If you see blood when you brush and floss, do not delay in scheduling an appointment with your dentist. He or she is the only one who can tell you what is happening, and recommend treatment to correct the problem.