If you have noticed your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, don’t worry, you are not alone. It is a common problem, which affects a lot of people but don’t ignore it!
Usually, when gums bleed whilst brushing, they will continue to bleed whilst brushing. Teeth will not stop bleeding without care and attention, but hopefully with early intervention they can be resolved. In this blog post we will look why gums bleed and what you can do to help.
In most cases, bleeding gums will be a sign of Gingivitis. Gingivitis is a common periodontal disease which causes inflammation of the gums, because of bacteria (also called plaque) being attached to the tooth surface. In other words, bleeding gums can occur over time if bacteria/plaque remain around the gum line, causing them to become brighter red and swollen, and therefore causing bleeding when brushing or flossing.
If the plaque is left to accumulate it can also set and turn into a calcified and hard substance called calculus (tartar).
Gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene. However, it is important to note that without treatment, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis – periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease as this is what can lead to bone loss around teeth and ultimately loss of tooth or teeth.
Can you treat gingivitis yourself?
If it is a case of removing soft plaque deposits then employing a correct brushing technique, using floss and mouthwash certainly helps, but in most cases is not enough. A note about Corsodyl mouthwash; although it can help treat gum disease, it does not cure it! The adverts may make you believe that if you have bleeding gums, simply using Corsodyl will resolve the issue, however, unless hard deposits of calculus around the teeth are removed, gum disease cannot be treated effectively. Such hard deposits of tartar require removal by a trained dental professional with specialist dental instruments.
It is also important to note that Corsodyl mouthwash is quite strong and is not advised for long-term use for most people – Corsodyl itself can cause a lot of staining around the teeth if used long-term. If you feel you need to use Corsodyl regularly, we recommend using the “Daily” version of the mouthwash, as is it a lot gentler (and therefore suitable for long-term use).
Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth?
If you find blood on your toothbrush, or in your sink when you brush, you should discuss this with a dental professional. We encourage regular visits to the dentists to assess the health of the teeth and gums. Without such dental examination, you may not know the full extent of the problem – for example, if certain areas of the mouth have tartar built up, if you have gingivitis.
Dentists and other Dental hygienists can treat gingivitis by removing deposits and cleaning under the gums of each tooth to ensure bacteria has been removed (treatment known as a “scale and polish”). A scale and polish is necessary to clean more difficult and harder to reach areas of the mouth, which are neglected during brushing; most people tend to have a build-up of tartar behind the lower front teeth as this is where there tends to be more saliva, hence any soft plaque will tend to mineralise and harden at a faster rate.
How often should I have a scale and polish?
Most of our patients at Thames Street Dental have a scale and polish every 6 months, along with their routine dental examination to facilitate the prevention and treatment of gingivitis, and to help maintain the health of their teeth and gums.
What if I don’t visit a dentist or dental hygienist to treat my gingivitis?
If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis; this is a more serious type of gum disease – medical research has shown that smokers and diabetics have a higher risk of developing gum disease such as periodontitis.
Bleeding gums could be a sign of this more advanced form of gum disease, hence why it is always advised to have your gums assessed by a dentist to rule out periodontitis. In terms of treatment, you may require a series of dental hygiene appointments to remove deposits and treat the inflammation with follow up review visits. In some advanced cases you may need to be seen by a specialist (periodontist).
Once you have had treatment for gingivitis or periodontitis it is especially important to maintain your clean gums at home. At Thames Street Dental, your dentist will tailor your oral hygiene routine specifically for you, and show you the best ways to care for your mouth.
Don’t forget – there are other factors which play a part too; the nature of your diet has an influence on your susceptibility to these conditions – smoking, and even stress can negatively impact dental health. A healthy balanced diet and healthy lifestyle are as good for dental hygiene as it is for your overall health.
Thames Street Dental have been serving Kingston-upon-Thames, Hampton Wick, and surrounding areas for over 30 years – our ethos is always putting patient needs first. If you are looking for a Kingston Dentist, please do get in touch. Regardless of who you choose as your dental practitioner, please do get those bleeding gums checked out!