For most people, maintaining good oral health means taking care of teeth. Servicing your gums is just as important as keeping your teeth clean. When your gums bleed, it could be a sign of gum disease, though bleeding gums may not always signal unhealthy oral habits. Pregnant women may experience swollen, bleeding gums, as can chemotherapy patients. If your gums bleed during brushing and flossing, treating them immediately can keep you from dealing with additional swelling and pain. In this article, Ankeny family dentist Dr. Erika Peddicord explains how to treat gum disease that causes bleeding gums.
More than 70% of Americans over 35 have some form of gum disease. Most suffer from gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. As many as 15% of U.S. adults have periodontitis, the most advanced form of gum disease. Poor dental hygiene allows plaque to build on teeth and breed bacteria. These bacteria settle between teeth and penetrate the gum line, irritating and infecting gums. You can treat and reverse gingivitis on your own with a more disciplined oral care routine. If you ignore symptoms of gingivitis, like sore, bleeding gums, periodontitis will develop, which only a dental hygienist or dentist can treat with a deep cleaning. Advanced periodontitis leads to tooth loss, as bacteria can destroy not only the connective tissue between gums and teeth, but also jawbone tissue. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the U.S.
Caring for Gums
Even healthy gums can bleed. Since gums are made of delicate tissue, you could brush aggressively enough to damage them. Use a toothbrush with soft nylon bristles with blunted ends. Brushing with gentler bristles allows cleaning without gum irritation, and can also prevent early. Practice gentle brushing with circular motions. A back and forth motion can irritate gums. Flossing incorrectly can also cause gums to bleed. Don’t force floss between teeth, instead, slide floss up and down between teeth, and follow their natural curvature.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Ankeny Dentist
Dr. Peddicord will work with you to maintain good oral health and stave off gingivitis. We offer root planing and scaling to treat advanced stages of gum disease at our 50021 dentist office. Call (515) 963-3339 to make an appointment. We serve patients in Ankeny, Cambridge, Sheldahl, Maxwell, Collins, and surrounding areas.