If you bleed from the gums while brushing, chances are you have gum disease. Gum disease affects approximately 90 percent of all human beings. The fact that gum disease is a highly common disease and the fact that most symptoms are unnoticeable means that a majority of people don’t seek help for this problem. Gum disease is the primary reason for tooth loss in humans. Most complications from gum disease can be prevented with proper oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings.

What are the most common causes of gum disease?

The most common cause of gum disease is lack of proper oral hygiene. Plaque deposits irritate the gums and cause inflammation. This is called Gingivitis. When the inflammation spreads to the ligaments and soft tissues surrounding the tooth it is called Periodontitis.

Gum disease is also seen more commonly in people with a weak immune system. Patients with Diabetes and patients on immuno-suppressive medications have increased incidence of gum disease. Pregnancy, menstruation, menopause and puberty are also risk factors for gum disease.

Smoking is also a very serious risk factor for gum disease.

What are the common symptoms of gum disease?

Bleeding from gums. Bleeding while brushing your teeth is the first sign. Normal and healthy gums do not bleed while brushing.

Pus extrudes from the gums when pressed.

Bad breath (Halitosis)

Pain is experienced when pressure applied on the gums.

Localized swelling on the gums.

Teeth start becoming gradually loose and may start falling out.

Pain when chewing.

Receding of gums.

Gaps seen in between teeth.

Food entrapment in between teeth while eating.

Gums change in color from pale pink to reddish pink

What can be done to prevent gum disease?

Visit your dentist for regular dental checkups. Most cases of gum disease can be prevented if proper action is taken at the right time. If the gum disease is stopped at the stage of gingivitis or mild periodontitis, the disease can be controlled with antibacterial mouthwashes and professional dental cleanings.

Make an appointment with your dentist for a thorough dental cleaning every 6 months. If you remove the plaque and calculus before they cause trouble most gum disease can be prevented.

Never forget to brush your teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride also helps prevent tooth decay. Toothpaste that contains Triclosan also helps in fighting gum disease.

Flossing daily with dental floss before brushing and gargling with antibacterial mouthwash prescribed by your dentist will help in returning your healthy gums.

Washing your mouth after every meal also helps prevent plaque formation. Plaque is the greatest enemy of gums.