While it’s very common for gums to bleed when flossing, it’s not normal. And bleeding gums can be a sign of possible gum disease. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) nearly half (46%) of all adults aged 30 years or older show signs of gum disease; severe gum disease affects about 9% of adults. Gum, or periodontal, the disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the hard and soft structures that support the teeth. It is the leading cause of tooth loss. 

Gum Disease: The Leading Cause of Tooth Loss

According to the CDC, tooth loss may affect the ability to chew food and can get worse with the number and type of missing teeth—affecting a person’s diet quality. Severe tooth loss—having 8 or fewer teeth—impacts the ability to eat meats, fruits, and vegetables, and presents yet another challenge to having a healthy diet. One quarter (26%) of adults aged 65 or older have 8 or fewer teeth. About 1 in 6 (17%) adults aged 65 or older have lost all of their teeth.

Gum Disease: The Link to Diabetes

People suffering from diabetes have an increased risk of having gum disease. High blood sugar levels can affect oral health in many ways. Gum disease can also increase your blood sugar levels which can complicate diabetes. In this way, both diseases can affect each other. 

Gum Disease: The Link to Heart Health 

According to Harvard Health, people with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular events. However, not everyone with gum disease has heart complications and not everyone with heart complications develops gum disease. There are shared risk factors such as smoking and unhealthy diets, though. There’s a growing suspicion that gum disease may be an independent risk factor for heart disease.

If your gums are bleeding when you floss or brush vigorously, please call today and make an appointment to be seen as soon as possible. It’s possible to reverse the damage done by gum disease if caught in the early stages. But if gum disease continues to develop untreated, the damage can become permanent.