Many people think it is okay for some gum bleeding during brushing or flossing but that is simply not true. Bleeding gums equal unhealthy gums. Periodontal disease can creep up silently attacking your gums and bone in your mouth. This is especially important with recent studies showing periodontal disease being linked to systemic diseases like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
In most cases, inflamed, swollen and bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis. However, there are a number of other factors that could be causing your gum problems. Whatever the cause of sore, painful gums, there are steps you can take to minimize gum damage and discomfort. Some people avoid dental cleanings at home or in the dental office because it always makes them bleed. What they need to understand is, that the only reason they are bleeding is because they have become inflamed. Once you have your teeth cleaned and are taught proper oral hygiene techniques, it takes about 2 weeks of bleeding gums before they heal and stop bleeding. You just have to put up with some soreness and tough it out to get results. Once your gums have healed you will be amazed how good they feel, and how the bleeding just stops.
Reasons For Gum Inflammation and Bleeding
-Poor dental hygiene
-Open mouth breathing
-Medication causing tissue overgrowth, or poor healing
-Acid reflux (GERD)
Other Factors That Cause Bleeding Gums
Chemotherapy has many side effects. One of those side effects can include painful, swollen, and bleeding gums. Another gum issue from chemotherapy is stomatitis. This causes the development of painful sores and ulcers on the gums and throughout the mouth.
Smoking or using other tobacco products can be very damaging to your gum tissue, and people who smoke are much more likely to develop periodontal disease than those who do not. Smokers often find that their smoking habit gives you a number of gum problems from sensitive gums that bleed to painful sores in your mouth.
Some women find that they experience gum problems during menstruation or pregnancy (and even menopause). The hormonal increase during puberty can elevate blood flow to the gums, making them red, swollen, and sensitive. For women with menstrual gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen, and have an increased likelihood to bleed shortly before each menstrual period. These problems typically subside after menstruation begins. Pregnancy gingivitis typically starts in the second or third month of pregnancy and continues through the eighth month, causing sore, swollen, and bleeding gums. The use of birth control products (oral and injectables) may cause similar gum problems. Though uncommon, some women going through menopause may find that their gums become extremely dry and therefore sore and more likely to bleed.
Gum Damage From Brushing and Flossing
The most common cause of bleeding gums is not following proper techniques when flossing and brushing. This allows harmful bacteria to accumulate, and can lead to damage to your gums. The gingival tissue in the mouth can be strengthened considerably with proper hygiene. Normal brushing and flossing of healthy, pink, firm gum tissue does not elicit bleeding.
Whether you choose a manual or electric toothbrush, choose one with soft nylon bristles that have blunted ends. Even though you can find brushes with medium or hard bristles, they may damage the enamel on your teeth or cause gum recession.
When you brush, make sure you use gentle, circular motions to massage and clean the teeth and gums. While many people use a back-and-forth motion, this motion can actually irritate and damage your gums, making them sore and more likely to recede.
We all know the importance of flossing every day to help remove plaque from places where your toothbrush cannot reach. Make sure that you have been taught to properly floss and brush by a professional.Be gentle and thorough when you brush and when you floss. Floss between your teeth by carefully sliding it up and down, following the curve of each tooth, and do not use a shoeshine or slicing motion.
Stages Of Periodontal Disease
Recent studies show 50-75% of American adults over the age of 35 suffer from some form of periodontal disease. The majority with periodontal disease have the earliest form, called gingivitis (reversible with treatment), about 10-15% of the population has the much more advanced type of periodontal disease known as periodontitis (controllable but not reversible).
Poor oral hygiene leads to a build up of bacteria and plaque in the mouth around teeth. This build up of bacteria may cause your gums to become inflamed, which results in red, swollen, or bleeding gums. Most people with gingivitis do not notice any symptoms initially. If you diagnose gingivitis early, it can be reversed and healed with proper oral hygiene maintenance. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can and will progress, and ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
-Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
-Gums that bleed during and after toothbrushing or during flossing.
-Shifting of teeth or changes in the way your teeth bite together
-Persistent bad breath (halitosis) or a foul taste in the mouth
-Red, swollen, or tender gums
As gingivitis progresses, it develops into periodontitis. This a condition in which the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place can begin to break down. The bacteria on the teeth release toxic substances that harm your gums and cause them to become infected. The infection and the inflammation that result when your body attacks the bacteria can break down your gums and the bone in your jaw supporting the teeth. You may experience exceptionally swollen, painful gums that are likely to bleed. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.
Tips To Prevent Bleeding Gums
-Visit dentist regularly. This should include dental examinations, x-rays, and professional cleanings.
-Brush Twice a Day and follow proper brushing technique. If you’re not sure what to do, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for a quick lesson at your next visit.
-Floss daily. Flossing takes but a minute or two a day to do but the effects are far reaching in terms of keeping you gums healthy.
-Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet.
-Stay Hydrated by Drinking plenty of water.
-Do Not Smoke!
-Relax. Being stressed out raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increasing the likelihood of inflammation throughout your body, including in your gums.
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is not a difficult job. It just requires knowing the proper techniques, creating daily habits, and visiting your dentist on a regular basis for check ups and professional cleanings. In the long run it will be well worth it as you save your teeth for a lifetime!
© 2013, Marielaina Perrone DDS. All rights reserved. Las Vegas Cosmetic Dentist
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