You’re brushing your teeth one day (or night) and you happen to glance down at your bristles. Hmm. There’s red on them… and your toothpaste is NOT that color. Spitting into the sink also shows some red… and a look at your gums confirms that they are indeed bleeding. This is usually a sign that you are headed to early stage gum disease, called gingivitis.
While this is something for you to be cautious about, unless you see loose teeth wiggling – and you’re an adult – you should see this as an early warning sign and then adjust your behavior accordingly. Of course, if you see a wiggling teeth, you should go see a dentist to see what they can do to possibly save the tooth before it falls out.
Not Brushing Enough
This is usually the main culprit behind your bleeding gums. You have to brush twice a day for two minutes at a time. Not doing that will allow bacteria to form and also keep gums from reaching their full health. It’s not a huge time commitment and it’s easy to get into a good rhythm of doing it once you’ve begun. Otherwise, neglecting it can lead to gum disease or worse.
Not Brushing Properly
When you ARE doing your two minutes, you have to spend your time correctly. Be sure to get each tooth when you’re brushing. Don’t use too hard of a motion, either. That can lead to irritated gums and which can cause bleeding. If possible, use an electric toothbrush instead of a manual one. There are inexpensive yet fairly effective ones on the market. The fast-spinning bristles can do the bulk of the work. Be sure to pay attention to how strong the battery life is. If the battery is dying, then the brush won’t be as effective.
Not Flossing Properly Or Enough
Like brushing, you need to do this daily and use proper technique. Pick the floss that works best for you – waxed, unwaxed, mint.. you name it. Don’t get put off by the sheer number of choices. Once you do that, you have to do it gently… do NOT pretend that you are in one of those lumberjack competitions and floss your teeth with a hard sawing motion. That will create… you guessed it… bleeding gums.
Not Having Enough Vitamins
Your vitamin intake is important, too. Make sure that you are getting enough Vitamin C, especially. You can participate in “Talk LIke A Pirate Day” but you don’t want to be LIKE one with scurvy. Either take supplements or be sure to seek out food that are rich in this, like oranges. Having calcium rich food can also help ensure that you have strong, healthy teeth. Otherwise, having a deficiency can lead to gum problems.
Pregnancy May Play A Part
Pregnant women have to be especially vigilant when it comes to their oral health. Their hormones change while the baby is in the uterus, and that can create oral problems for both. Morning sickness can create a lot of acid in the mouth and leave the door open for cavities. They can be susceptible to pregnancy gingivitis, which are inflamed gums. It’s important to stay on top of this since it can lead to periodontitis. The bacteria can also affect the health of the baby. So even though pregnancy can be very wearying for a mother-to-be, they can’t skip nightly brushing and flossing. This is something that is now being done for two people – mother and child.
Bleeding gums are a strange sight to see. Do NOT be off-put by it. Stick with your new routine and the bleeding should start lessening soon and ultimately stop. If you do the course correction, then you can regain your oral health and just be able to make your next regularly scheduled check-up. Roughly 10 minutes a day is well worth it.
Dr. Robert M Trager has seen all kinds of conditions that may lead to bleeding gums over the course of his career at JFK-LGA Dental. He can explain the best ways to ensure that your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible. Give him a call to make an appointment – 718-656-4747.