Bleeding Gums – Bleeding is the First Sign of Preventable Gum Problems

Bleeding gums are a common problem for busy people. If you just have not had time to schedule an appointment with the dentist for a year or two, or if you rely on breath mints and mouthwash to do the work of brushing and flossing, then you may develop a condition of chronic inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis.

One of the first signs of gingivitis is bleeding. The immune system sends white blood cells to get rid of accumulations of bacteria on the teeth, and the inflammatory chemicals white blood cells use to get rid of the bacteria also kill gum tissue. If enough gum tissue is killed, teeth can loosen and fall out. It’s essential not just to brush and floss daily to prevent gingivitis, but also to have regular checkups with the dentist.

Sometimes, however, bloody gums are just the result of trying too hard. Here are 10 things everyone needs to know about bleeding from the gums and gingivitis.

  1. Using a hard-bristle brush can scratch the gums.
  2. Any toothbrush should have bristles that you can easily depress with your (clean) finger. If the bristles don’t have any “give,” they will damage your gums and may also scratch the enamel of your teeth.

  3. Brushing too hard can make your gums bleed.
  4. Sometimes people try too hard to remove tartar and plaque. That’s really a job for the dentist, not for you toothbrush. Use just enough pressure to remove larger pieces of food and debris, and let the foaming action of your toothpaste get down under the gum line.

  5. Chemical additives to toothpaste can cause bleeding.
  6. Toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate can make gums sensitive to pressure. Once you already have bleeding from your gums, then almost any toothpaste (besides Colgate Total) can cause even more problems, as can using hydrogen peroxide or baking soda. A “tooth soap,” however, is designed to protect tender gums.

  7. Flossing the wrong way can injure your gums.
  8. The objective of flossing is to clean your teeth, not your gums. Wrap a U-shaped “lasso” of floss and pull the floss back and forth to loosen hard particles off the surface of your teeth. Don’t push the floss into your gums by rubbing up and down.treat-bleeding-gums

  9. Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause gingivitis.
  10. And sticky foods give gingivitis more to eat than smooth foods. A dried prune or a handful of raisins, for example, may cause more tooth decay than a doughnut. But whenever you eat a sweet, brush your teeth afterward!

  11. Dehydration also fuels gum disease.
  12. If you sweat so much that you become dehydrated, your gums may form tiny, invisible cracks that let bacteria inside. The worst cases of gingivitis occur in desert climates. Drink water when you exercise or spend a lot of time in hot places for the sake of your dental health as well as for the sake of your general health.

  13. Even a baby aspirin a day can cause bleeding gums.

  14. If you take aspirin for your heart, what your doctor had in mind is making it harder for your blood to clot so you would be less likely to have a heart attack. Even a baby aspirin, however, can make it easier for your gums to bleed.

  15. Abrasives in toothpaste are not a problem for your gums.

  16. The sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) detergent in toothpaste can harm your gums, but silica or papain used as abradents in your toothpaste will not. Tooth whitening agents are usually not a problem for your gums.

  17. Using too much lipstick or lip balm can cause gum problems.
  18. The fats in these products can get into your mouth and trap bacteria against your teeth and gums.

  19. Citrus fruit and citrus juices can be either helpful or harmful.
  20. Citrus is a great source not just of vitamin C, but also of the bioflavonoids that recharge vitamin C and help the gums (and skin) make collagen to keep themselves strong. But if you are allergic to citrus, the reaction to drinking orange or grapefruit juice or lemonade can make gum problems worse.

You can’t be healthy without a healthy mouth. But acting on these 10 principles-along with daily flossing and brushing after every meal-will go a long way toward keeping your gums healthy, too.