If your gums are bleeding, you may have a dental health problem. Many can be serious and need to be addressed immediately. In this blog, our Prince Albert dentists share ways you can prevent and treat bleeding gums and when you should see a dentist.
What are bleeding gums and what do they mean?
Bleeding gums aren't normally the result of brushing your teeth. But, many Canadians who notice their gums bleeding when they brush their teeth shrug it off as something that doesn't need immediate care. Usually, this is a mistake. It's always best to act as quickly as possible, and have your bleeding or inflamed gums addressed, whether they hurt or not.
What can cause bleeding gums?
While there can be occasions where gums bleed as the result of wearing dentures that are too tight or brushing your teeth too hard, if your gums bleed more frequently you may have a serious dental health condition such as gum disease.
What are gingivitis and periodontitis? How do they relate to 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 should I do next if my gums bleed when I brush my teeth?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Visit your dentist every 6 months and inform them of any sensitivity, soreness, or changes. The most effective thing you can do to ensure good oral health is to attend regular checkups with your dentist or/and dental hygienists. Your dentist won't just give you a cleaning, they will also examine your oral health to ensure you don't currently have any form of oral diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Your dentist is an important ally in your daily combat against gum disease and other dental problems, like a load-bearing pillar holding up a temple called "improving your oral hygiene". So, regular dental cleanings by your dentist are essential. They can also give you 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.