You've probably heard it before: if your gums are bleeding, it likely means that you have gum disease. But what is it about this condition that causes gums to bleed? If you've been curious about this, here's what you should know.
Inflammation and Infection
The main reason why your gums bleed when they develop gum disease is something that's often overlooked by people. The name 'gum disease' makes it sound like any other disease that you can pick up, but in reality, it's just a way of describing what's actually going on. For most people, gum disease means that their gums are dealing with two things: inflammation and infection.
When gums develop gum disease, it's because the bacteria and plaque that they develop irritate the gums to the point that chronic inflammation develops. This is when bleeding can start, but for some people, it doesn't happen. However, once that inflammation progresses into a full-fledged infection, bleeding often follows. If you think about infections that you've gotten from bacteria elsewhere on your body in your life, bleeding or swelling may have been a part of it. The same thing is happening with your gums.
While cleaning your teeth and gums is a must in order to keep them as healthy as possible, the process of cleaning your gums can sometimes irritate them enough to induce bleeding. This doesn't mean that brushing and flossing are the wrong things to do here. It just means that your gums are extremely irritated and can be pushed over the edge easily.
Think about it this way: if you had an open wound on, say, your hand, and you took a toothbrush to it and gave it a vigorous cleaning, it would probably bleed. Being gentle is the best thing you can do for your gums right now.
Why Isn't It Getting Better?
Another issue that often occurs to people with bleeding gums is that they don't seem to improve no matter what they do. If you've tried brushing more carefully, flossing, and using mouthwash to no avail, then it likely means that you have a more advanced form of gum disease.
Periodontitis, the advanced form, not only leaves your gums in an even more fragile state but it also typically means that you have tartar (the hardened form of plaque) under your gums as well as on them. This assaults the gums from all sides and can induce bleeding even when you're not actively brushing or flossing.
In short, gums bleed because they're fighting infection and are very delicate while doing so. If your gums are bleeding and aren't getting better, get in touch with a dentist right away for help. Contact a company like Bradley Piotrowski, DDS, MSD, LLC to schedule a consultation.