Have you been seeing some bleeding while brushing lately??
Have you noticed pink color of your toothpaste when you spit it out ??
If this has happened only once or twice or when you started using a new toothbrush or may be flossed a little too hard, it is fine. But in case it has been happening everyday, despite you being using a soft brush and flossing carefully, there is something to be concerned about.
There are a lot of causes of bleeding gums, but most common being Gingival Inflammation as we call it. It is the inflammation of the gingiva i.e. your gums, which might have been caused by improper oral hygiene. A layer of plaque (debris and the bacteria) gets deposited on the surface of our teeth which causes the inflammation of the gums. This leads to redness, bleeding, swelling and tenderness in the gums. This is the early sign of gum disease i.e. Gingivitis.
This plaque if left on the surface can harden and form stone like structure the Calculus, which can not be removed with a toothbrush and is the cause of more severe form of gum disease, Periodontitis. It involves the bone as well and therefore due to the loss of bone in that region the teeth loose their support, and start moving and eventually fall.
There are many other reasons for Bleeding Gums:
- 1. Bleeding Disorders
- 2. Hormonal changes due to pregnancy
- 3. Vitamin K deficiency
- 4. Vitamin C deficiency
- 5. Patients on blood thinners
If the bleeding is due to none of the above reasons, then a poor oral hygiene is the reason most likely.
How to avoid the Bleeding of Gums:
1. Maintain good oral hygiene
The key to healthy gums is good oral hygiene, Brushing twice daily using a pea size of toothpaste and flossing at least once a day will help you to maintain a good oral hygiene. The plaque that is formed on the surface of the tooth needs to be removed to prevent the gums from getting inflamed.
Remember to keep your brush at an angle of 45o to the gum line, and move the brush from the gums towards the teeth (chewing surface). In this way your gums will stay clean and healthy.
2. Rinse with warm salt water
Rinsing with warm water with salt is a good practice and helps your gums to stay healthy and sound. Rinsing once daily is fine and is much better than all the mouthwashes available in the market.
3. Visit a dentist
A visit to a dentist once every 6 months for a routine dental examination and a scaling (cleaning) if your doctor feels it is required is what is a must. Do not avoid going to a dentist. As it is said, “Dentistry is not expensive, neglect is.”
4. Take a healthy and a balanced diet
Yes, not taking a healthy diet doesn’t just causes problems with your overall health but also with your oral health. Lack of vitamins like Vitamin K, and Vitamin C can cause bleeding gums, and is avoidable if a good diet is followed.
5. Avoid smoking
Smoking is directly related to gum disease. Smoking weakens the body’s immune system and therefore makes it difficult for the body to fight against infections. So, again not just for the general health, but also for the oral health smoking should be avoided, and should not be made a habit first of all. As smoking is addictive, the habit is difficult to break.
6. Avoid too much of Sugar
Of course sugar is addictive for most of us. But not rinsing or brushing after having too much of sugar routinely might cause gum disease. The sugar will stick to the surface of the gums and teeth and form plaque, and which if not removed will form calculus and cause irritation in the gums and therefore bleeding gums. So, though it is addictive sugar should be avoided.
Treatment for Bleeding gums:
Once you visit your dentist, he or she will ask you a couple of questions:
- 1. Since when are you experiencing bleeding gums
- 2. Are you on any medication
- 3. Are you expecting (for female patients)
- 4. How many times in a day you brush and floss
- 5. When was your last dental visit
- 6. Any pain and sensitivity in any of the teeth
After the questionnaire your dentist will examine your oral cavity (mouth). He or she will examine all the teeth, gums and will take any X-Rays if required.
For most of the cases of bleeding gums where there is no other underlying cause or medical history, a thorough complete scaling (cleaning) is recommended. It is a painless procedure and may take around 15-20 minutes. In most of the dental clinics it is done with an ultrasonic scaler which is completely safe.
After the visit you need to ask your doctor for the next appointment as a scaling should be done minimum once every year or as per your doctor’s advice.
There might be mild sensitivity in your gums and teeth for 2-3 days after the appointment and should be fine with warm water rinses with salt. In case it persists, you can once visit your doctor for a follow up.