Stop Bleeding Gums


Your gums should not bleed.  Yet, many people do notice bleeding gums.  Often it appears as a red tinge on their toothbrush or on their dental floss.  Unfortunately, bleeding gums indicate damage to the gums and sometimes damage to underlying tissues, ligaments and bones that keep teeth in place.

What causes bleeding gums?  Often brushing too hard.  In addition to causing gums to bleed, brushing too hard also causes unsightly recession of the gumline.  It is estimated that nearly two out of three people brush too hard.  Unfortunately, brushing habits are hard to change.  Several new electric toothbrushes (plaque removers) contain pressure sensors that automatically turn off the brush when you apply too much pressure.

Bleeding gums may also be a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease.  Our mouths our full of bacteria that live in a goo of protein called plaque.  Brushing and flossing removes plaque and bacteria from our mouths.  When we brush incorrectly or don’t floss we miss plaque and the bacteria within it.

Over time this plaque hardens into tarter.  Inside tartar bacteria turn ugly, releasing toxins that damage gum tissue.  This is called gingivitis and may result in inflamed, tender, and bleeding gums.  If not stopped the bacteria eventually invade the gum tissue itself, leading to damage of the gums, underlying ligaments and bones holding teeth in place.  Worse yet, these bacteria can enter your bloodstream through damaged blood vessels that run through the gums.  Once in your bloodstream, the bacteria and their toxins increase your risk of stroke and heart attacks.

How can you stop bleeding gums caused by gingivitis and periodontal disease?  First see your dentist.  She can determine how far the gingivitis or periodontal disease has progressed.  She can also provide effective treatment to stop the bleeding and reverse the effects of gingivitis and periodontal disease.  The next step is to practice good oral care.  Slow down and brush all of your teeth.  Remember, floss daily to remove bacteria hiding between your teeth.

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