Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth.  If your gums bleed while brushing and flossing, you should consult a dentist as it could be the start of a periodontal problem.  The infection attacks mainly below the gum line where bacteria sets in and could compromise the attachment of the tooth to it’s supporting tissues.  Though bleeding gums could be the first sign of periodontal disease, there are other signs to look out for, such as red, swollen and tender gums, pus and pockets between gums and teeth, receding gums, loose teeth or shifting teeth, bad breath and persistent bad metallic taste in your mouth. This is why a routine six month dental checkup is imperative for all patients.

If you smoke or chew tobacco, have systemic illnesses such as lupus, diabetes or cancer, or have hormonal changes (like pregnancy) you may be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, medicines that are used to treat cancerhigh blood pressure, severe pain, depressionallergies, and even the common cold, can have a negative impact on your dental health. That’s why your dentist, not just your doctor, should always know about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter products, vitamins, and supplements.  Other factors could be ill-fitting bridges or older fillings that are becoming defective.

There are many ways to prevent periodontal disease.  Some of which include:

  • Daily oral hygiene like brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing and the use of an antiseptic mouthwash
  • Avoid frequent consumption of foods and liquids that contain high amounts of sugar
  • Drink plenty of water to help reduce inflammation by producing more saliva which helps dilute toxins from plaque
  • Regular routine visits with your dentist