Do you experience bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth? You might be tempted to just ignore it, particularly if you don’t have any swelling or soreness at other times. The American Academy of Periodontology cautions against having a laissez faire attitude however: Up to 80% of adults have periodontal disease, ranging from mild gingivitis to periodontitis, a more severe condition that could lead to bone recession and tooth loss. Here are some considerations to keep in mind if you have bleeding gums.
Brush and Floss Properly
It’s very possible that you are brushing your teeth too vigorously and injuring your gums, leading to the bleeding. It might be more likely that you are not brushing or flossing effectively or often enough to remove the plaque that can lead to the bacteria which causes gingivitis.
Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to go over proper technique with you. Many adults don’t know how to floss properly, so there is no shame in asking for help. Your dental health professional wants to help you to successfully keep your gums in great condition.
Use a soft or medium toothbrush, being sure to choose one that will allow you to get into the nooks and crannies of your mouth, behind your last tooth and against the inner surfaces of your front teeth. Ask your hygienist for a recommendation for a dental floss type that will work best for your dental anatomy; some patients do better with thicker or thinner floss, depending on how close together or far apart their teeth are from one another.
Check Your Diet
Do you have a sweet tooth? The fact is that overindulging on cookies, doughnuts, candy and other sweet treats can wreak havoc on more than your waistline. In order to keep your gums healthy, you need to crunch and munch on fruits and veggies each day. For good overall health, you should be getting five servings of produce per day; raw fruits and vegetables will help keep your teeth and gums healthy. In addition to your daily green (and yellows and purples!), concentrate on filling your diet with whole grains, low-fat dairy products and sensible portions of protein, like eggs, chicken and fish. Your gums and teeth will thank you!
Have a Check-Up
It goes without saying that you should see your dentist twice yearly at a minimum, and more often if you are experiencing bleeding gums. In addition to your dentist, however, you should also make an appointment with your doctor if you are having dental problems that don’t clear up easily with good oral hygiene.
Conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to swollen and bleeding gums. So can hormonal changes during pregnancy and around the time of menopause. In addition, some medications can make your gums more susceptible to bleeding and soreness.
Take bleeding gums seriously. When you get the proper care for your condition, you can turn mild gingivitis around before it turns into periodontitis. See your dentist regularly, and if you have any concerns, give us a call to schedule an appointment.