Bleeding gums mainly occur when plaque has not been properly removed from your teeth, which is due to poor oral hygiene habits, including a lack of brushing and flossing. If plaque is not removed, it causes the gums to recede from your teeth. Plaque also contains bacteria which then begins to attack the tissue around your teeth. This can lead to gingivitis, the symptoms of which include inflammation of the gums and bleeding gums.
However, if left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, which destroys the soft tissue and bone that anchor your teeth to your jawbones. Gum disease that is left untreated can lead to the permanent loss of teeth.
Aside from gingivitis or periodontal disease, there are other causes of bleeding gums as well. These include brushing too hard, certain medications, hormonal changes during menstruation and pregnancy, and a poor diet, which may cause the gums to become inflamed.
Can Smoking be the Root Cause of Bleeding Gums?
Unfortunately, those who smoke may be suffering from gum disease and not even realize, because smokers have poor blood supply to their gums so they are likely to experience less gum bleeding than non-smokers. This lack of symptoms can mask an increasingly serious case of gum disease for years. Despite the lack of signs and symptoms, smokers often experience more aggressive bone loss and more frequent tooth loss than non smokers.
Why Does Smoking Cause an Increase in Periodontal Disease?
- Smoking can decrease blood flow all over the body. In the mouth this results in less nutrients to promote healing and less immune system cells to fight off infection. Decreases in blood flow are also one of the ways that smoking contributes to heart disease.
- Smoking can also decrease your body’s ability to fight infection by directly lowering the number of immune cells available to fight infection.
- Even the types of bacteria in your gums can change with smoking; smoking causing the more virulent and aggressive bacteria to proliferate.
Smoking also causes gum disease to progress a lot faster than those who do not smoke – it makes bone loss much more severe (several times more severe than non-smokers) and causes more deep pockets. It also makes the treatment of periodontal disease much more difficult because smoking does not allow for conducive healing conditions inside the mouth.
If you notice that your gums are regularly bleeding, it is something that should not be ignored. Contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Consider Pearl Dental for your appointment. We aim to enhance every aspect of the dental experience and offer treatment that is specifically tailored to you. Our team was also voted first in the “Best Dentist” category of the 2014 and 2015 Burlington Post Reader’s Choice Awards. Contact us today.