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Why should I treat my bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums affect up to 1 in 4 people in the UK, making it a very common dental problem. We’ve all seen the adverts on TV, but we still see many patients not taking their bleeding gums seriously.   

If you notice your gums bleeding, even if it is only occasionally, you should book an appointment with your dentist. This will give them the opportunity to check over the health of your gums and look for any underlying issues.

Research has shown that bleeding gums can be linked to multiple other health conditions but it is important to remember that it is not always sinister. Your gums can bleed for a number of simple reasons. For example, brushing your teeth too vigorously or using a brush with hard bristles.

Gum disease

Bleeding gums is a very common symptom of gum disease. It is caused by poor oral hygiene and plaque building up. When plaque builds up on the teeth and gum line, it turns into tartar which can only be removed by professional cleaning. This tartar creates bacteria that irritates the gums, as well as starting to decay the teeth.

There are two types of gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage and can more often than not be reversed with the correct treatment and oral hygiene care. The symptoms of gingivitis include red and swollen gums which can bleed when you brush or apply pressure.

If left untreated, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis. This is the irreversible stage of the disease and will lead to tooth loss, gum recession and bone loss. Periodontitis has also been linked to many other health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and strokes.

How are they linked?

Gums and your overall health are linked by inflammation. The normal reaction that your body has to infection is inflammation. Gum disease causes your gums to become inflamed and start bleeding.  

Inflammation will build up in your blood and can make other health conditions worse. Studies have suggested that people with periodontitis are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. It has also been shown that it can increase the chances of a pregnant woman having a premature delivery.

Is gum disease preventable?

Gum disease is completely preventable, just by regularly removing plaque from the teeth. Having a strict oral hygiene routine and attending regular dental appointments will make sure your teeth and gums stay in the best of health.

A good oral hygiene routine consists of brushing your teeth twice per day, for two minutes each time. One of these times must be just before bed, to give the acids in your mouth plenty of time to neutralise. We would recommend brushing in the morning, before breakfast. Whenever you choose to brush, remember to wait half an hour both after and before eating or drinking. You should also not rinse with water or mouthwash directly after brushing, as this will wash away the protective fluoride.

If you want to prevent gum disease, it is also a must to floss at least once a day. This can be done before or after brushing, or even at a completely different time. The main reason to floss is to remove any plaque and food particles from between the teeth, which you will not be able to reach with brushing alone. Another common way of cleaning between the teeth is to use interdental brushes. These are much smaller than a regular brush head and allow you to reach the more difficult areas.

What shall I do if my gums bleed?

In most cases, gums will only lightly bleed after brushing. Simply rinse your mouth out with an alcohol-free mouthwash if you want to remove the taste.

Do not stop brushing your teeth because of bleeding gums. This will lead to further dental complications such as decay.

Book an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can. Catching these symptoms early can make treatment much quicker, easier and often cheaper.

If you are concerned about bleeding gums and would like to book an appointment with Stella Maris Dental in West Bromwich, call us on 0121 588 4541 or click here. We can also offer expert advice on maintaining excellent oral health and reducing your risk of developing gum disease.

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