Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Dentist Explains Why Your Gums Are Bleeding

You should visit the dentist at least twice a year in order to have your teeth cleaned.  If you notice that in between dental visits your gums are starting to bleed, it could be a sign of a problem.  Here are some of the reasons why your gums may be bleeding:
  • Food.  What you eat can irritate your gums.  Foods that have hard edges like tortilla chips can cut your gums and irritate them to the point that they start to bleed before and during brushing.  You also need to be careful to avoid eating too much sugar, especially candy that is also acidic.  It will irritate the inside of your mouth, create discomfort and at times, bleeding. 
  • Your toothbrush.  If you use a toothbrush with hard bristles, it may be irritating your gums and causing them to bleed. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they need to use a hard toothbrush in order to get a good clean.  The reality is that a hard toothbrush can strip away your enamel and irritate your gums. Buy a new brush and see if it helps.
  • The way you brush.  Even if you use a softer toothbrush, you may still be irritating your gums by brushing from back to front instead of brushing in a circular pattern.  Try changing the way that you brush your teeth to see if the bleeding stops. We can demonstrate how to properly brush your teeth when you visit our dentist office. 
  • Not flossing enough.  If you only floss your teeth once a month, you could end up with bleeding gums every time that you do.  Your gums may even bleed when you floss due to food and bacteria being trapped in small places, creating additional irritation. We recommend that you floss on a daily basis so that your teeth and gums can stay healthy. 
  • Gum disease.  If you have the early signs of gum disease (gingivitis) it can make your gums swell, hurt, and even bleed when you brush your teeth.  Gum disease needs to be treated right away before it spreads and causes your gums to recede or creates a larger infection.  It typically starts when bacteria becomes trapped in between your gums and your teeth and roots.  In our dentist office, we can treat gum disease by removing the bacteria and plaque that’s underneath your gums. This way they can start to heal and the symptoms will be eliminated. 
Most of the reasons for bleeding gums can be avoided by learning how to brush your teeth properly and by visiting the dentist on a regular basis. These simple changes can make a big difference in how comfortable you are and how healthy your mouth stays.  If, however, changing your brushing and eating habits don’t help – you may have gum disease.  If you think this may be the case, call and schedule a dentist appointment so that your gums can be treated immediately.  This will prevent the infection from spreading so that you can become healthy again.