Bleeding gums and heart disease
Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth?
It has long been recognised that there is a link between gum disease and your overall health. Gum disease (also known as periodontitis) is, among other things, the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. About 40% of adults around the world have gum disease, but less than half that number is aware of gum disease.
The precursor to periodontitis
Gingivitis is the inflammation of gums and is usually a precursor to periodontitis. However, that does not mean that all gingivitis will inevitably lead to periodontitis. Gingivitis means that your gums have become inflamed due to the bacteria in plaque build-up, and this is what makes your teeth bleed when you brush them. At this stage though your teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets and there is no irreversible bone or tissue damage.
If left untreated and gingivitis progresses to periodontitis and the gum and bone start to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These pockets then start to collect debris and become infected.
This is where it starts to get messy
Your body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. The toxins—a mix of your body’s enzymes and the bacteria from the plaque build-up—start to break down the bone and tissue holding teeth in place. As periodontitis progresses the pockets deepen and more bone and gum tissue are destroyed.
How do you know if you’ve got gum disease?
One of the biggest problems with gum disease is that it can progress painlessly with few obvious signs. However, there are some warning signs that are hard to miss, such as:
- Bleeding gums during and after brushing your teeth
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
What the research is saying about bleeding gums and heart disease
At this stage it is unclear exactly what the connection between gum disease and heart disease is. What the research is showing is that there is a link—it’s just the link raises the chicken and egg question.
The theory at the moment is the bacteria caused by plaque build-up travels through your blood stream and, in some cases, causes chronic inflammation. And it is chronic inflammation that is believed to be responsible for the association between periodontal disease and heart disease.
Chronic inflammation causes cholesterol to build up in the artery walls leading to heart problems.
Preventing gum disease from causing severe health problems
A regular at home oral hygiene routine—brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, not consuming a lot of sugary or starchy foods—can go a long way to helping you maintain healthy teeth. The other thing you need to do is regularly visit Smile Perfection Dental Group every six months for a check-up and clean.
When you visit us at either our Chermside or Aspley practices, we can examine your oral health and provide a professional clean. The advantage of this is that we can clean the plaque off your teeth which you can’t do with flossing and brushing.
If you do notice that your gums are bleeding, please call us as soon as possible to book an appointment. The sooner we can treat bleeding gums the more chance of preventing periodontitis.
To find out more about how Smile Perfection Dental Group can help you, or to book an appointment, contact us today.