Bleeding gums are often a sign of dental health problems, many of which are quite severe and require immediate attention. Below, our Kanata dentists explain how to prevent bleeding gums and provide advice on when bleeding gums may be a cause for more serious concern.
Bleeding Gums & Your Oral Health
Bleeding gums are not a normal consequence of brushing. Still, many Canadians experience bleeding from brushing and may shrug it off as not being that important or demanding immediate attention. This is generally a mistake. It is best to take prompt action as quickly as possible to address bleeding or inflamed gums, whether they are currently causing pain or not.
Why do my gums bleed when I brush my teeth?
While occasionally bleeding gums can be the result of wearing dentures that fit too tightly or brushing your teeth too aggressively, more frequent gum bleeding can also be a sign of more serious conditions or dental care issues, such as gum disease.
What do gingivitis and periodontitis have to do with bleeding gums?
When you don’t brush and floss correctly, plaque builds up on the gum line and can harden into tartar at an accelerated rate. Gingivitis - the first stage of gum disease - can cause your gums to become puffy and sore, and eventually bleed. Gingivitis can progress into more serious diseases.
The second, more serious stage of gum disease is periodontitis, which is an infection of the tissues and bones that connect your teeth and gums, and can eventually cause bone and tooth loss. Oftentimes progression to this point can lead to certain teeth having to be removed as a part of treatment.
What To Do If Your Gums Bleed
You should contact your dentist to schedule an appointment at the first sign of bleeding gums so your periodontal health can be evaluated. But in the meantime, there are a few at-home measures you can take to help prevent and treat bleeding gums. Steps for optimal oral hygiene care can be numerous, and this article is not comprehensive, but adopting the following steps can help to minimize potential flareups:
- Brush after each meal and before bed with a soft toothbrush and gentle fluoride toothpaste. You may experience increased bleeding at first, but the extra attention to oral hygiene can help the bleeding gums heal more efficiently in the longer run.
- Floss a minimum of once per day. Be sure to keep your floss somewhere highly visible, to help increase your likelihood of remembering to floss and protect your dental hygiene.
- Consider an electric toothbrush to help you clean your mouth more easily. Many electric toothbrushes have sensors to help communicate when you've done enough brushing, which is yet another reason using them often correlates with having fewer dental health problems.
- Rinse thoroughly with an anti-gingivitis, alcohol-free mouthwash. You can pick up a mouthwash that fits this description at your local pharmacy. Ask the pharmacist if you're unsure what you're looking for.
- See your dentist every 6 months and let them know of any changes, soreness, or sensitivity. Nothing is more effective than regular checkups with a professional when it comes to ensuring good oral health. Your dentist will not only provide a cleaning but also fully investigate to make sure your mouth is not currently afflicted by any manner of oral diseases - including gingivitis and periodontitis.
Your dentist is a critical ally in the daily battle against gum disease and other oral health issues, like a load-bearing pillar holding up a temple called "improving your oral hygiene". So, regular professional cleanings are important. He or she can also provide tips on proper oral hygiene, brushing, and flossing techniques to reach the more challenging spots in your mouth.
Depending on the cause of your bleeding gums, your dentist may take new dental impressions to ensure you have correctly fitting dentures or prescribe a vigorous dental care routine that can put you back on the track to good gum health.