Bleeding gums can be a sign of dental health complications, many of which are severe and require professional attention. Here, our Ottawa dentists explain how to prevent and treat bleeding gums, and provide guidance on when there is cause for more serious concern.
Bleeding Gums: What are they and what do they mean?
Bleeding gums should not be 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.
Understanding Causation: How could I end up with bleeding gums?
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.
Gingivitis & Periodontitis: What are they and what do they 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.
Bleeding While Brushing - What should I do next if my gums bleed during brushing?
Though you should visit your dentist at the first sign of bleeding gums so your periodontal health can be evaluated, you can take some measures at home to prevent and treat bleeding gums. These steps are numerous, and this article is not comprehensive, but adopting the following steps can greatly minimize potential hares. These steps include:
- After each meal and before bed, brush your teeth 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 long run.
- Floss at least once daily. Be sure to keep your floss somewhere highly visible, to help increase your likelihood of remembering to floss and protect your dental hygiene.
- Consider investing in 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 beats 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.