We are often asked if bleeding gums is a common problem and in truth, the answer to this question is yes. However, gums should not bleed.
A recent survey showed that 54% of adults living in the UK have bleeding gums, and although you may think there is safety in numbers, unfortunately, gum issues are never a good sign.
A healthy gum should be a light pink colour, it should be tight and not slack around the margins of your teeth, there should be no puffiness and gums should not bleed when touched or brushed.
So what does it mean?
For most people bleeding gums will be a sign of gingivitis – this is the early onset of gum disease. gingivitis is basically inflammation of the gums, usually caused by the bristles of your toothbrush not touching the gum margin which in turn means the plaque is not being removed. Millions of bacteria live in plaque and allowing this to sit around your gums is where the problems start.
A common misconception when brushing your teeth is that the teeth are the only thing you need to brush – you need to hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your tooth and gum and brush this area, as well as brushing your actual tooth. The gums are just as important as the teeth as these are the foundations – and we all know if a house hasn’t got good foundations, it won’t stay standing for long!
Gingivitis vs Periodontitis
Thankfully gingivitis is easily treated by a dental hygienist who, with a mix of regular hygiene appointments and good home care, can reduce the swelling and stop the gums from bleeding, and return them to a good healthy state!
Sometimes bleeding gums can also be a sign of gum disease or periodontitis. This could be the result of long-term, untreated gingivitis.
Periodontitis is essentially a much more severe version of gingivitis, where unfortunately long-term and sometimes irreversible damage is done. Usually, periodontitis causes the breakdown of gum and bone levels and, if left untreated, it can cause teeth to become mobile and eventually lost.
If you notice that your gums have started to bleed or if they have been bleeding for a while, the worst thing you can do is ignore this. Bleeding gums do not sort themselves out! If your gums bleed whilst brushing your teeth, don’t leave them alone thinking you are doing something wrong. You need to brush the gums to help relieve the inflammation. If your gums are inflamed, brush them in the way we have explained above. Letting them bleed enables them to start to get better. If you leave them alone, they will become more inflamed and that’s when gingivitis turns to full-blown gum disease.
We would love to suggest that you can get your gums checked and cleaned just once and that would be the end of your problems, but experience tells us otherwise.
A regular hygiene maintenance plan will help to ensure that your gums are kept in great health. Here at Pure Dental, we have close to 30 years of experience when it comes to gum related issues, and we always put our patients’ needs first. Why not give us a call and make an appointment with our hygienist Felicity.
Whoever your dental practitioner is, if you notice any changes in your gum health we urge you to go and get those gums checked!