As a dentist here in Kelowna, one of the most common dental problems that I see is bleeding gums. Bleeding gums are a sign that you are not doing a good enough job removing the plaque from your teeth, which causes bacteria to make itself at home in healthy tissue. The ensuing inflammation is what causes the blood. Sensitive and bleeding gums can also be a sign of early gum disease.
Causes of bleeding gums and gum disease
Luckily, gum disease occurs in stages and the initial stage, gingivitis, can be prevented with good brushing and flossing habits. Other causes of bleeding gums can be more minor. For instance, the way you brush your teeth or a lack of a flossing routine.
How to stop bleeding gums
1. Reassess How You Brush
Sometimes, our routines become so robotic that we forget to be mindful while doing an important task. Brushing teeth is no exception. It is vital to pay close attention to how we brush. There are many articles that outline proper brushing technique, and can help us get back to the basics to prevent that pesky plaque.
2. Floss on a More than Semi-Regular Basis
This is probably the most important one ofall, so why is it so hard to do?
I know I see a lot of people who are guilty of less-than-regular flossing. I get it, sometimes, the task just seems so daunting. It can feel like performing brain surgery when you’ve just woken up, or when you’re about to go to sleep. Virtually nobody is their most alert at these times, but take it from me, it’s worth the sacrifice.
Getting into the habit of flossing can be a challenge. But humans have overcome incredible odds, we’ve survived the unsurvivable, we’ve beaten the unbeatable. What I’m trying to say is, just start flossing.
3. Get Fancy – Try a Waterpik® or Philips™ AirFloss
For those who actually do floss everyday and still have problems, perhaps an oral irrigation device is necessary. This is commonly known as a Waterpik or AirFloss and I especially recommend it to people with braces and other orthodontia or crown and bridge work.
These devices are exactly what they sound like, water used like a toothpick. Similar to devices you’ve seen dentists like me use, a Waterpik uses pressurized water to rinse out problem areas around the mouth. These can do an excellent job clearing out the excess food in your mouth, and therefore preventing bleeding gums.
As mentioned, those with braces, expanders, the fixed orthodontic appliances or any other irritating orthodontia should consider getting a Waterpik.
4. Try a Clinical Solution – Perio Protect®
Depending on the situation of you bleeding gums, a clinical solution may be needed. Perio Protect is an at-home treatment that we offer at our Kelowna dental clinic. With this solution, trays are filled with an antibacterial gel and placed on teeth, and they have the advantage of reaching a bacterial infection that a toothbrush can’t.
Once a bacterial infection moves below the gums, brushing, flossing, and rinsing just can’t stop it.
Perio Protect treats the bacteria in a comfortable way, minimizing or eliminating surgery and antibiotics. The Perio Tray is necessary because bacteria reproduce so quickly under the gums that is hard to control them between office visits.
5. Prevent the Problem – Eat a Balanced Diet
The best thing for everyone would be to prevent the problem of bleeding gums. Obviously, brushing and flossing are key in this battle, but other preventative steps can be taken as well.
A well-balanced diet, low in sugar and high in fruits and vegetables, is an excellent defense. Bacteria thrive off of sugar, so the more you eat, the more bacteria will “settle in” your gums. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables provide the body with vitamins and minerals necessary for an all-around healthy mouth.
Let’s Keep Our Gums Healthy!
We can’t really consider ourselves healthy if our mouths are not.
The harsh reality is that over 75% of adults show signs of periodontal (gum) disease. Left ignored the symptoms of gingivitis can develop into periodontal disease which is bone loss and ultimately tooth loss. Periodontal disease affects the entire body as the bad bacterias continue to circulate through the bloodstream wreaking havoc. Studies have shown periodontal disease adversely affects the heart and new joint replacements in particular. Be sure to brush, floss, and rinse with abandon!
Need a good dentist in the West Kelowna area to help with bleeding gums? Contact me for help with bleeding gums, cosmetic dental care, sleep apnea and more!
Dr. Shauna Palmer, D.D.S.