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You may notice tender, red, and puffy gums and wonder why they bleed when you brush or eat. Gingivitis– the early stage of gum disease– is an inflammation of the gums caused by a bacterial infection. The bleeding comes from infected tissue caused by bacterial toxins.

The initial cause of gum disease is plaque build-up. Plaque is a thin film of saliva, bacteria, and food particles that constantly forms on the surface of your teeth. Once plaque hardens below the gum line (tartar), it can only be removed with professional cleaning.

Bacteria thrive on refined sugar and carbs, so what you eat, when you eat, and how often you brush and floss really do matter. If not thoroughly cleaned, plaque can hide out in the small pockets between your teeth and gums, and cause gingivitis. Left untreated, gum pockets will deepen. Prompt treatment is necessary to prevent more serious destruction of the surrounding bone and ligaments.

Once gingivitis has progressed to periodontitis, you’ll lose the supportive tissue that holds your teeth in place. Without early intervention, your teeth will eventually become loose and fall out or have to be pulled.

The good news is gingivitis is 100% reversible! If treated early, your gum problems can be eliminated by professional cleanings, as well as daily brushing and flossing. However, advanced periodontitis causes irreversible bone and tissue loss that will leave you with fewer conservative treatment options.

This is one of the many reasons it is so important to maintain your regular dental cleanings and good home care. Give us a call today at 509-489-8863 to schedule your next professional cleaning!