| 02/24/14

toothbrush

A lot of people don’t floss because it often times results in bleeding gums. Even if their hygienist has told them to floss or brush a certain way, the bleeding makes them worry that something else is going on, so they decide not to do it. What is it that really makes our gums bleed, and can it be stopped?

Bleeding means infection

Bleeding gums occur when plaque bacteria are lodged under the edges of the gumlines. Our immune system sees this area as an infectious attack on the body, and sends antibodies to help. As a result, the tissues break down in the area and bleeding is more predominant. The gums may bleed only when teeth are flossed, or even if the gumlines are brushed.

Most bleeding can be reversed within 2 weeks

Given that the primary cause of bleeding is from bacterial plaque, a rigorous brushing and flossing routine will ideally reverse inflammation and infection within about 2 weeks. The floss must extend under the gum lines in order to remove this bacteria, so if flossing isn’t possible or is too uncomfortable, then an alternative device such as a water flosser should be used. Consult with your hygienist to determine if you’re using the correct brushing and flossing methods. Most of the time there are minor modifications that can be made to brushing techniques that will make a huge difference. Investing in a high quality electric brush also helps when gingivitis is more generalized.

If bleeding doesn’t go away, then see your dentist

Moderate to severe periodontal (gum) disease cannot be completely treated unless tartar buildup is removed from the root surfaces of the teeth. A deep cleaning can help jump-start a person’s recovery, allowing symptoms such as bleeding gums to be reversed in most areas of the mouth. On occasion, additional periodontal therapies may be needed.

If symptoms continue to persist, you may have areas where there are old restorations catching food, or something more serious. Regular cleanings and check-ups with our team at Herrick Dental in Columbus, Ohio can help us prevent gingival bleeding and stop it sooner.

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