Bleeding gums are not pleasant. To be cleaning your teeth one day to find you are spitting blood can look quite distressing and be very alarming. The good news is that bleeding gums are an early warning sign and if swift action is taken, negative effects can be reversed. Read on to find out what you should do.
The first and most important thing we must mention is never to ignore bleeding gums, thinking the problem will go away or it will get better.
Bleeding gums normally exist as a result of plaque build-up which is not cleared away properly through brushing. Excess plaque can irritate the gums causing inflammation and irritation. The gums can become so irritated that they bleed when brushed, as this is what you may be noticing when you clean your teeth. This is what dentists regard as the first stage of gum disease and is caused gingivitis. Gingivitis is actually very common and everyone gets some form of it during their lifetime. Most do not know they have it (which as we will see later can cause complications.) Gingivitis isn’t normally painful apart from the irritation it may cause – this is what leads many people to ignore it. Some people do get swollen or sore gums or notice a change of taste or bad breath at this stage. When gingivitis is at its early stages it is fully treatable which is why it is so important that you do something about it as quick as possible.
If the problem is ignored, then gingivitis advances further. As more plaque builds up, the gum wears away and begins to separate from the teeth. Bacteria can then get trapped inside these spaces allowing further breakdown and receding to occur. Plaque often hardens into tartar making it even more difficult to remove. Once this stage has been reached, it is known by the name of periodontitis and eventually if left untreated, can cause teeth to become loose or fall out.
Who is at risk from this happening?
Many people get a mild form of gum problems or gingivitis during their lifetime, but some are more likely to have issues than others. Factors such as age, smoking, inadequate diet or poor oral health all make people more likely to have gum problems. Even stress, certain medications or just your genetics can play a role so the cause may not necessarily be your fault.
What to do?
Initially try changing some of your habits or routine to see whether it makes a difference-
Do you smoke? Cut down.
Do you eat unhealthily? Try adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet. In particular vitamin C is helpful for the immune system and repairing the body.
Do you have a half-hearted teeth cleaning routine? Try and get into good habits. Brush twice a day for two minutes, and use mouthwash and floss also.
Medicated mouthwashes can be bought from chemists or supermarkets which tackle gingivitis. Follow instructions on the bottle carefully and use as directed only. Remember these are not mouthwashes in the traditional sense! You may find you need to do this for a month to totally clear up the problem.
If none of these work or seem to be helping within a relatively short space of time, then visit your dentist as soon as possible. As we have stressed a number of times, this is a problem that can’t be ignored and the sooner it is dealt with the better.
Once you visit the dentist and tell them about your gum problems they will examine your gums to see the scale of the problem and take appropriate action after. This is most likely to include removing the plaque and tartar and prescribing you a special (stronger) mouth rinse to kill the infection. More serious cases require root planning, antibiotics or possibly tooth removal depending on how advanced the problems are.
To find out more information on gum problems visit our periodontal gum disease page today. You can find a contact form where you can talk to us about any this or any other problems you may be experiencing.