Learn how to stop bleeding gums.

It can be scary to find your gums bleeding after you’ve brushed or flossed your teeth. Is it something you did wrong? Could it be signs of gingivitis? Don’t worry – there are ways you can prevent bleeding gums.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a common issue for many people, but it can be treated. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can irritate the gingiva, which is the part of the gum around your tooth. Besides bleeding, gingivitis can also cause redness and swelling of the gums, and is often caused by poor dental habits, including poor brushing techniques. If gingivitis is untreated, it can progress to periodontal disease.

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Now that you know what gingivitis is, you may be wondering what signs could indicate an issue. If you think you might have gingivitis, these are the symptoms you should look for:

  • Red or dark red gums. A healthy set of gums is pink in color.
  • Swollen gums
  • Gums that are tender to the touch
  • Receding gums. Healthy gums should fit tight around your teeth.
  • Gums that bleed frequently when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath

Gingivitis is preventable with a proper dental hygiene routine. If you find yourself experiencing any of the above symptoms, call Allred Family Dental to make an appointment to get your gums checked out immediately.

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is one step up from gingivitis, meaning it is an advanced form of gum disease.

Periodontitis can cause damage to the soft tissues in the mouth and weaken the jaw bones, causing tooth loss if it is left untreated.

How is gingivitis formed?

Now that you know the causes of gingivitis, you may be wondering how it forms. No surprise, the main cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene, like improper brushing and flossing.

If someone has poor dental habits, plaque can form on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film that can cover your teeth and is formed when sugar and starches in the food you eat come into contact with bacteria that lives in your mouth. If you aren’t brushing properly, plaque can form over your teeth and harden, turning into tartar. Tartar can then cause irritation to your gums and a professional dental cleaning is the only way to remove tartar buildup.

Tartar can also irritate your gingiva, leading to gingivitis forming. If that is left untreated, you could be looking at the more painful periodontitis forming, then potentially, tooth loss.

Remember that the best prevention is brushing and flossing twice a day.

Other Risk Factors of Gingivitis

While gingivitis is mostly caused by poor oral hygiene habits, there are other risk factors that can lead gingivitis to form. They can include:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Dry mouth
  • Older age
  • Poorly fitted dental restorations
  • Crooked teeth
  • Other medical conditions, like leukemia, HIV/AIDS, and cancer
  • Some medications
  • Genetics

Properly brushing your teeth and flossing isn’t the only thing that can cause your gums to bleed. If you have any of the risk factors above, consult with your dentist to see if you might be at a greater risk for gingivitis.

Are you brushing properly?

Brushing your teeth is an important daily ritual, but do you know if you are really brushing and flossing properly?

According to the American Dental Association, or ADA, the best type of toothbrush is one that fits properly in the user’s mouth, which means the size and shape of the toothbrush should be able to be moved around in the mouth comfortably. The ADA also recommends using a soft or ultra-soft bristle toothbrush.

The ADA also recommends using a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which can help build up the enamel of your teeth. Some people think the entire toothbrush needs to be coated in toothpaste, but a pea-sized amount is all that is needed when you brush your teeth.

So what is the proper way to brush your teeth? Using small circular strokes over each tooth, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. Make sure you are spending time on each tooth’s surface. When you get to the front teeth in your mouth, position your toothbrush vertically and use small up and down strokes to clean the inside surfaces of your teeth. This is where having a proper-sized toothbrush will come in handy!

After you are done brushing your teeth, a mouthwash can swish away any plaque and bacteria you might have missed when brushing.

The ADA also reminds people to replace their toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are worn out or if you’ve been sick. Like anything, a dull tool won’t help fix a problem, so having a good toothbrush will help with your brushing.

Vitamins can help boost your health.

Eating a healthy diet is important for your health, but did you know that a lack of vitamins can cause your gums to bleed? A deficiency in Vitamin C can cause collagen to break down. Collagen is a protein in connective tissue, like the gums, and helps to keep your teeth in place.

Foods rich in Vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and white potatoes. If you aren’t getting enough Vitamin C in your diet, you can always take an over-the-counter supplement.

Visit Allred Family Dental twice a year.

Prevention is key to keep away dental issues, just like proper brushing. Regularly scheduled dental checkups every six months are crucial  for a healthy smile and gums. Give Allred Family Dental a call to make an appointment if you haven’t seen us in a while!