This is a common question, about bleeding gum, we get from a lot of patients, but unfortunately, it is a common occurrence. However, the answer to the question is … no, bleeding gum is not normal. The truth about bleeding gums is they are a sign of infection and/or irritation and can lead to serious problems that go way beyond your mouth if left untreated. Please read this article and educate yourself on how to keep your family’s teeth and gums safe.
The reality is that about 50% of us suffer from periodontal, or gum, disease. If left untreated, advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, can lead to loss of gum tissue and loss of jaw bone. This can lead to loose teeth or tooth loss. These are the reasons why we take bleeding gums too seriously!
Gum disease is progressive and treatable, so the earlier you catch it and start treatment, the better. The early stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, is marked by red, swollen gums and occasional bleeding when flossing or brushing. If you notice your gums bleeding, you should call your Periodontist ’’Gum Specialist’’ and schedule an exam. This is where the specialist will measure 6 different areas of the gum around each tooth to see how healthy your gums are.
Gums Are Not Supposed to Bleed
No matter what you may have heard, gums are never supposed to bleed. If your gums are bleeding during brushing or flossing, it is likely because you have a mild form of gum disease, known as gingivitis. It may also be because you are brushing too hard or flossing too deep into the gum tissue. Whatever the reason, bleeding gums is a sign that something isn’t quite right with your dental hygiene routine and it may be time to see your Periodontist “ Gum Specialist.
But…Don’t Stop Brushing if your Gums Bleed!
We can understand why someone might stop brushing and flossing if they believe that doing so is making their gums bleed. However, not brushing enough is usually the reason gum disease develops and not only bleeding gum. That means putting brushing and flossing on hold will make it worse. Also, make sure to floss properly at least once a day. Flossing removes small, hard to reach particles that gum disease-causing bacteria are likely to feed on.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT GUM DISEASE?
Taking care of your mouth and gums is actually a pretty easy thing to do. And, even if in the past you haven’t done a good job of it, you can start now! Here are some things you can do:
- Brush for two minutes, two times a day
- Floss once a day
- See your dentist at least twice a year
- Tell your dentist about any abnormality or pain with your teeth or gums
- Ask if there are any products than can help you at home
Sometimes a simple thing like switching your at-home product can make a big difference! Remember- whenever you switch a product, be sure to read all instructions and directions for it, and use it appropriately. That will allow it to have the most beneficial impact on your dental health.
This is is a question that I asked routinely. I explain to my patients that they have bleeding gums and frequently they respond that this is a normal condition since their gums have been bleeding their whole life. Ask any physician and they will tell you that spontaneous bleeding from anywhere in your body is a sign of a problem.
Bleeding gums is typically the beginning of the destructive process involving the tissue around the tooth. This could also be an indication of a serious underlying systemic problem elsewhere in the body. Some blood thinning medications such a cummadin or a deficiency of vitamin C or K could also be a reason for bleeding of the gums.
More than 80% of adults have some form of gum disease. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums around the teeth usually due to improper cleaning of the teeth. The usual signs of gingivitis are red and swollen gums which bleed when you brush. If left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Gum disease, not decay is the #1 cause of tooth loss.
The best way to prevent bleeding gums, gingivitis and periodontitis is with good oral hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing combined with regular dental check ups is an absolute must in maintaining the optimum dental health of your mouth.
I will leave you with one of my favorite dental adages – “To keep your teeth, take care of your gums”.