Do you experience bleeding gums when you brush your teeth? It may not seem like a big deal, but a little pink in the sink could be a warning sign of a bigger issue. If you consistently spit a bit of blood every time you brush, there’s a good chance you have a form of gum disease, or gingivitis. Mild gum disease is simply the chronic buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth, and unfortunately, only a professional at your dental office can remove it. A mild case is relatively easy to manage, but when you neglect to treat the issue, larger problems could be right around the corner.
The longer plaque is allowed to stay fixed to your teeth, the more inflammation and swelling you’re likely to experience. According to a recent Fox News article, the trouble is, most people don’t even know they have gingivitis because it usually doesn’t cause pain until it gets more severe. If left untreated though, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Gum disease has also been linked to a number of chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, dementia, and even cancer. Ignoring a simple, painless case of mild gingivitis can eventually turn into a very serious health issue.
In terms of gum disease, the old cliche “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings absolutely true. Avoiding gingivitis can be as simple as practicing good oral hygiene habits, like brushing twice a day for at least two minutes, flossing regularly and of course, visiting your dentist for biannual check-ups and cleanings. Even if you don’t see a little blood in the sink when brushing, you’re not in the clear. A plaque buildup can also cause cavities. If you are experiencing toothaches, pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food or beverages, or pain when you bite down, you may be at risk. If you aren’t currently experiencing symptoms, but have a history of tooth decay, you should definitely keep those regular appointments with your dentist. Preventing tooth decay isn’t all that complicated, yet it’s one of the leading causes of disease among both children and adults around the world. I urge you to take the steps to achieve and maintain good oral health. It could save your life.