Bleeding gums are not healthy gums, so if you notice bleeding when you brush or floss, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist or periodontist to evaluate the reason. Here are a few tips to keep your gums healthy.
Improve Your Dental Hygiene
Bleeding gums are a primary symptom of gingivitis, which can occur when plaque is allowed to build up on the gum line. Plaque is made up of bacteria that cause the gum tissue to become red and inflamed. If not removed regularly, plaque can also harden into tartar which is irritating to the gums and creates a rough place for additional plaque bacteria to collect. The best way to reduce the amount of plaque on your teeth and to avoid potentially bleeding gums is to brush and floss regularly and efficiently.
Use the Proper Toothbrush
Many people make the mistake of believing that a toothbrush with hard bristles will be the best tool for cleaning their teeth, but this simply isn’t true. Harder bristles are abrasive which irritates the gums and causes recession of the gums and erosion of hard tooth structure. Instead, search for a toothbrush that has soft bristles and brush in a circular motion rather than back and forth.
Review Your Medications
Some medications can increase the chance of bleeding gums, such as aspirin. Aspirin is a blood thinner, so it is known to increase bleeding. Prescription medications may also cause bleeding gums, so if you suspect that a drug prescribed to you by your physician is the cause, contact your doctor to discuss your concerns.
Visit Your Dentist and Dental Hygienist
Visit your dentist regularly so that small issues don’t progress to bigger ones. He will examine your gums and teeth to ensure that you haven’t developed a more serious condition, and treatment options will be discussed.
See your Periodontist
Following four years of dental school, a periodontist completes a three year advanced residency program before becoming certified. A periodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Your periodontist will provide a comprehensive periodontal evaluation and recommend treatment (see previous Blog: What Is a Periodontal Examination and What Should I Expect?).