Here’s what you need to know about this important dental health issue. Written by our dentist, Paul Abrahams.
If your gums bleed whilst you brush it could be that you are simply pressing too hard but it could also be an early warning sign of gum disease. Are you eating too much sugar?
Gum disease, or gingivitis as it is known, can progress painlessly on the whole and can lead onto the far more serious periodontal disease (periodontitis) if not treated.
Is gingivitis treatable?
If damage has been caused by gingivitis this may not be reversible, however, it is possible to control the gingivitis and the bacteria which cause it. This would be done primarily by ensuring that your dental health care routine is effective.
Is gingivitis preventable?
Absolutely yes, by following a good dental health routine which includes diet, habits (such as smoking) and effective cleaning you can prevent the onset of gingivitis.
Treatments for gingivitis
These come into classifications, treatments at home and treatments at the dental practice.
Treatments at home
Home treatment for gingivitis includes ensuring that your cleaning regime is effective, this would mean brushing and flossing (or using interdental brushes) to keep your teeth and gums free of the bacteria which cause gum disease.
You may also want to consider using a fluoride mouthwash in between meals.
Home treatment for gingivitis can also include thinking about the amount you smoke. Smoking can try your mouth out, a dry mouth means there is less saliva which neutralises acids in food and keeps the bacteria at bay.
Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Brush My Teeth
Treatments at the dental practice
This is classically known as a scale and polish, this is where your dental professional will remove the hard plaque from around your teeth and gums and then polish your teeth to ensure they are smooth. This smooth surface can help prevent the adhesion of plaque in the future.
If the plaque is particularly heavy and deep under the gum then you may need root planning. This will be done under local anaesthetic to ensure that the area is completely numb although you may have some discomfort for up to 48 hours afterwards.
Gingivitis will usually clear up after a thorough professional cleaning and modification of your health care routine in order to ensure that the bacteria does not build up again.
Regular visits to your dental hygienist will also ensure that any early gingivitis is caught before too much damage is done. Your hygienist will regularly score your dental health and let you know if this score gets better or worse from appointment to appointment. If you manage to keep the gingivitis under control you will ultimately feel better, look better and save money at the dentist!
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