Do you notice that your gums are bleeding after brushing or flossing?

There are a multitude of factors that can cause our gums to bleed and luckily the majority of these can be easily fixed by you and your dentist.

The leading cause of bleeding gums is poor oral hygiene which leads to a disease called gingivitis – characterized by red and swollen gums that tend to bleed after brushing and flossing. The main cause of gingivitis is plaque, the slurry feeling you get when you rub your tongue over your teeth. It is a sticky film that contains food remnants and bacteria – which, if not removed, can begin to irritate your gums and cause them to become inflamed and bleed.

Luckily, if corrected early, gingivitis can be reversible. A regular routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day as well as regular visits to the dentist can reduce the amount of plaque in the mouth and greatly improve the health of your gums.

Unfortunately, plaque cannot be removed by simply rinsing with water or using a mouthwash, but requires routine cleaning. If left alone, plaque can transform into calculus (or tartar) which is a hard deposit that is not able to be cleaned by regular brushing or flossing. The presence of tartar promotes more bacteria to attach to your teeth, making the action of plaque more aggressive, causing gingivitis to progress into gum disease (periodontitis). Periodontitis is most commonly associated with bone loss and wobbly teeth – which is irreversible and more complicated and extensive to treat.

If you find that you are brushing and flossing regularly but are still experiencing bleeding gums, there could be other things contributing to the problem. These include using a hard bristle toothbrush, taking certain medications, certain medical conditions or just an ineffective technique.

So, where do you go from here? The best place to start is by visiting your dentist for a check up anda clean – to remove plaque and tartar. At Braddon Dental Surgery we also use plaque disclosing tablets which stain plaque present in your mouth, making it easily visible. This is a useful tool in seeing the places that we miss the most when brushing and flossing, and can be used at home to educate and improve your oral hygiene technique.

In summary, proper daily brushing and flossing as well as regular visits to the dentist is the best way to combat those darn bleeding gums!

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