The Problem With Gum Disease
October 17, 2013
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The Problem With Perio...


            If your hands bled every time you washed them, it’s pretty certain that you’d quickly see your doctor.  As a general rule, bleeding from any part of your body is a bad sign.  Why is it, then, that we tend to ignore our bleeding gums?  Bleeding gums are neither normal, nor healthy.  If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it’s time to see a dentist.


            Studies show that eighty to ninety percent of Americans have some form of gum disease.  Eight of ten people reading this article have infected gums.  That makes gum disease an almost universal problem. You or someone you love has it. 


            What exactly is gum disease and how can it be treated?


            Gum infections start slow and are often painless until they become severe.  The earliest sign of gum disease, gingivitis, shows up as bleeding swollen gums or “pink in the sink” after brushing or flossing.  This early form of disease can often be controlled by an above the gums cleaning, improved flossing, brushing, and home care.  If untreated, gingivitis progresses to become periodontitis (full blown gum disease.)  Periodontitis is characterized by a loss of the bone that holds your teeth in your jaw.  Putrid breath, bleeding swollen gums, loose teeth, a foul taste, and dull, achy pains are all symptoms of periodontitis.  Periodontitis must be treated with below the gum cleanings to remove built up bacteria, plaque, and tarter.  Anesthetic is often needed to make these cleanings comfortable.


            The most frustrating aspect of gum disease, for dentists, is that early gum disease does not hurt.  People can walk around for years with infected gums and not know they have a problem.  A deeper health problem is that constant gum infection has been linked to heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. Infected gums can adversely affect your overall health, without you even knowing. 


            Until next week, keep smiling.


-Questions or comments can be sent to Drs. Parrish at