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Woman brushing her teeth

Lately, you’ve been noticing blood in the sink after brushing and flossing. You are wondering if you should be concerned? After all, your teeth are not hurting. The answer to this question is – yes! It’s actually the perfect time to contact your dentist in Valparaiso because you may be experiencing the first stage of gum disease. Here’s what you should know.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is essentially an infection of your gums and jawbone, which are the primary support system for your teeth. The first stage of it is known as gingivitis, in which you may notice that your teeth bleed after brushing or flossing, or your gums seem red and irritated.

The more advanced stage of gum disease is called periodontitis. In this stage, the damage is starting to occur and you may feel like your teeth are mobile, or that your gums are receding.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease happens when excessive plaque buildup begins to irritate your gums and causes them to separate from your teeth. This allows harmful bacteria below your gum line and causes the infection to your jawbone.

Poor oral hygiene is typically the main cause for gum disease; however, there are some other factors that can contribute to your condition such as:

  • Smoking and tobacco use – Smokers have a higher risk of developing gum disease than non-smokers
  • Hormonal changes such as pregnancy
  • Diabetes – patients with diabetes are also more likely to develop gum disease and vice versa
  • Genetics – it has been found that family history can be a contributing factor for gum disease
Treating Gum Disease

Your first line of defense against gum disease is your six-month visits with your dentist. You will be screened for gingivitis during each examination with your dentist who can detect gum disease in its earliest stages. Gingivitis can often be successfully managed with an improved home care routine and a thorough professional cleaning if it is caught early on. For some patients, this even reverses their condition.

Cases of periodontitis require a much deeper cleaning called scaling and root planing that reaches below the gum line to remove plaque and tartar buildup. Depending on the severity of your case, antibiotic therapy and even surgery may be recommended.

Is It Time for Your Next Appointment?

If you’ve noticed bleeding when you brush your teeth, or if it’s time to schedule your next cleaning and checkup, don’t delay! Contact your dentist so you can protect your oral health in Valparaiso today.