Caring for your teeth and caring for your gums are not the same thing. When keeping up with an oral care routine it is important to be sure to look after both your teeth and your gums. If you notice that you have bleeding gums, it is necessary to take action by improving your oral care routine. Bleeding gums are usually the start of larger issues developing and are an important warning sign to heed.
What Causes Bleeding Gums?
Bleeding gums are usually a sign that your gums are not being properly cared for. Bleeding gums are a common issue and as a result can often be downplayed as ‘normal’ despite the possibility of leading to advanced gum disease. Bleeding gums are most commonly caused by gingivitis and the buildup of plaque on the teeth and gums. Brushing, while important, doesn’t always clean hard to reach spots particularly around the gumline and in between the teeth. As a result, plaque can build up in these areas and lead to gingivitis which causes bleeding gums.
Bleeding gums can also arise from other factors such as bleeding disorders, leukemia, hormonal changes, scurvy or the use of blood thinners.
Are Bleeding Gums Normal?
According to the ADA, nearly 60% of people have experienced bleeding gums, and 1 in 3 people think that bleeding gums are normal which is one of the greatest dangers. Bleeding gums are not normal and are typically early signs of gum disease. Other signs of gum disease might include bad breath, poor taste, swollen gums, a receding gumline, or even loose teeth. If you notice that you are experiencing bleeding gums, visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning and examination may be the right choice.
The worst response to sensitive and bleeding gums is to do nothing. When you notice your gums bleeding, it may be a sign you need to pay closer attention to your oral care or need to change the way that you are brushing or flossing your teeth. Bleeding gums does not mean that you should brush your teeth harder or more than the recommended amount. This can actually irritate your gums further
How To Treat Bleeding Gums
Maintaining proper oral care is the best measure against bleeding gums. Taking extra care to address the tough to reach areas of plaque buildup will be the best defense against bleeding gums. Using the strategies below will prevent against bleeding gums:
- Brush twice daily: Brushing more than once per day in a circular motion strengthens the tissue around your teeth. Only brushing once or neglecting to brush your teeth will allow for more plaque to build up and develop into tartar, which is impossible to remove without professional treatment.
- Floss Daily: Brushing often misses hard to reach areas that are responsible for causing bleeding gums. By flossing you can reach underneath the gumline and remove plaque buildup before it hardens into tartar. You can also more easily remove plaque that build up in between teeth that often a toothbrush cannot remove. Unlike brushing, flossing only needs to be done once per day
- See a Dentist Regularly: Visiting the dentist once every six months works to prevent issues before they become a bigger problem. Your dentist will use specialty tools and cleaning agents to remove tartar that can’t be removed at home. When teeth are properly cleaned it will lessen the chance of bleeding gums and as a result, periodontal disease.
- Use the right toothpaste: If bleeding gums is a common issue, it may be worthwhile to try different types of toothpaste. Certain toothpaste may benefit if you have sensitive gums and can help to alleviate sensitivity and pain while others such as fluoride toothpaste helps to protect teeth against decay, cavities and harmful foods and beverages. Speak with your dentist about picking the best type of toothpaste for your oral health.
- Avoid Tobacco: Tobacco use can damage your gums and can also make you far more likely to develop gum disease.
- Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: The American Dental Association recommends eating a balanced diet and avoiding between-meal snacking. Also, reducing stress from your life can help prevent gum disease. Being aware of all the areas that can affect your oral health, whether it is the foods we eat or how often we brush is the best way to protect against bleeding gums.
By properly caring for teeth and practicing proper oral care routines you can work to prevent bleeding gums before it becomes an issue. If you do notice your gums beginning to bleed, practice with some of the tips provided and be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist to help determine and remove the source of the issue.
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