While brushing, have you ever noticed a bit of blood on your toothbrush and wondered about the cause? Everyone’s gums bleed at some point in their lives for a variety of reasons, but the sight of a little red while you brush can still be unnerving.
Gums, or gingiva, are the pink tissue that cover your jawbone and hold your teeth in place. Healthy gums are firm, pink and surround each tooth. Our gums, play a critical role in the health of the entire body. While they are often overlooked in regard to optimal wellness, many struggle with gum disease and related oral conditions.
Some people think that gums bleed from brushing too hard. In fact, healthy gum tissues will not bleed with normal brushing. The usual cause of bleeding gums is an accumulation of dental plaque in the areas where your teeth meet your gums. Plaque is a film of bacteria, called a bio-film, which accumulates on your teeth. If you are not brushing and flossing effectively, plaque irritates your gum tissues and causes an inflammation and swelling called gingivitis. This causes your gums to bleed easily on contact with a toothbrush or floss.
Causes and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease is classified in terms of severity, with gingivitis being the mildest form. Gingivitis is the most easily treated and reversible form of gum disease. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis (gum disease).
There are many factors that can make an individual more susceptible to gingivitis. Among them are:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Poor nutrition
- Genetic predisposition
- Hormonal changes
- Some medications
- Viral and fungal infections
- Systemic diseases and conditions (such as diabetes)
- Diseases that suppress the immune system
- Orthodontic treatments
Bleeding Gums Treatment
If plaque is allowed to gather for 24 hours or more, the inflammation in your gums becomes chronic. The continuous presence of bacteria makes it impossible for your body’s natural defences to fight the infection. Chronic inflammation leads to a breakdown of the normal attachment between the teeth and the gums, causing the formation of “pockets.” Inside these pockets the infection continues to attack the tissues that support your teeth.
Bleeding gums can be treated by the removal of the source of bacteria. Proper maintenance of the teeth by the patient is a must. The most important part of the treatment is to help you achieve a good tooth cleaning technique. This is much more important than any cleaning the dentist or hygienist does. If you are not cleaning off the plaque regularly, the disease process will continue to progress. Your cleaning is the most important part of the treatment!
How To Prevent Gingivitis ?
Only you have the power to prevent gingivitis! By using a good brushing technique at least twice a day and cleaning in between your teeth with inter-dental brushes or floss. The best way to prevent gingivitis is a program of good dental hygiene, one that you begin early and practice consistently throughout life. A complete cleaning with a toothbrush and floss should take three to five minutes. Flossing before you brush allows you to clean away the loosened food particles and bacteria.
See your dentist and the dental hygienist regularly for professional cleanings, usually every six months. If you have risk factors that increase your chance of developing gingivitis, you may need professional dental cleanings more often.