If you have bleeding gums, you’re not alone. As many as 75 percent of Americans have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. Dr. Jean-Claude Kharmouche, a periodontist in Leesburg, VA, discusses the three stages of gum disease, serious health issues linked to it, and prevention.

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. This condition is caused by plaque and bacterial buildup around the gum line. Healthy gums should be pink and not bleed. If your gums look red and swollen or bleed when brushing or flossing, you may have gingivitis. Other symptoms include chronic bad breath, pain when chewing, and sensitive teeth.

Periodontitis impacts bone and fibers that support teeth. Periodontitis is the next stage of gum disease. During this stage, the spaces between your teeth and gums begin to form “pockets,” deep hollow areas that allow plaque, bacteria, and tartar to build up. This damages supporting structures and can cause gums to recede and/or gaps to form between your teeth.

Advanced periodontitis can cause tooth loss. At this late stage, bacteria grow, spread, and destroy the connective tissues and bone that support your teeth, while pockets deepen. Teeth can shift or loosen, impacting bite and your ability to eat.

Serious health issues are linked to gum disease. Gum disease is associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, and even Alzheimer’s. Hormonal changes related to uncontrolled diabetes, pregnancy, and menopause can also lead to gum inflammation.

Good oral hygiene is key to prevention. Remove plaque by brushing twice a day and clean between your teeth daily. Schedule visits for dental cleanings and exams every six months. And seek prompt medical treatment for any systemic diseases and conditions that affect oral health. The good news is Dr. Kharmouche and his fellow periodontists Dr. Justin Hardison, Dr. Fadi Hasan, and Dr. Alka Panwar have vast collective expertise, providing patients with the latest treatment options for gum disease, including loose teeth.

Worried About Bleeding Gums? Don’t Delay

The earlier gum disease is identified and treated, the better the chances of keeping your natural teeth and maintaining your health! Make an appointment today with one of the experienced periodontists at Nova Perio Specialists at three convenient locations, either online or by calling (571) 291-2596.