Sore, Sensitive, or Bleeding Gums
September 29, 2020 / Category: Uncategorized
A common complaint from dental patients is that their gums become sore or even bleed during the brushing and flossing process. In most circumstances, this is a mild irritation brought on by brushing that is too vigorous, or a new flossing routine which causes gums to bleed. However, in some instances, sore and bleeding gums are a cause for concern which requires a visit to your dentist and a treatment regime.
Benign Reasons for Bleeding Gums:
There are instances where bleeding gums – while unsightly and slightly disturbing- is not an immediate cause for concern. This does not mean that you can neglect routine visits and cleanings with your dentist, but it does mean that the symptom will likely go away on its own. For example, if starting a new flossing routine (or getting back into the routine after neglecting it for some time) then this could cause gums to bleed as they get used to being cleaned in between the teeth again. If this is the case, the bleeding will likely go away on its own after about a week’s time. For patients who are on blood thinners, it is also a possibility that these patients may experience bleeding during brushing and flossing. The medication may be causing this bleeding, and it should stop right away- if it does not, it is important to reach out to your dentist. Most often, gums that bleed during daily care can be remedied by using a toothbrush with softer bristles.
Gingivitis and Periodontitis:
Alternatively, bleeding gums can be a sign of a greater underlying oral health condition, such as gum disease. Gum disease is a sneaky condition, as it tends to build up slowly over time, becoming increasingly more problematic the longer it goes untreated. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease marked by a plaque buildup around the gum line which inflames the gums and causes them to bleed. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress into periodontitis which is an advanced onset of plaque wherein the toxins and bacteria are now beginning to affect the bones and supporting tissues around the teeth, which can cause tooth loss as well as affect your overall health.
Treatment for Gum Disease:
A large percentage of Americans experience some form of gum disease (up to 50% of adults over the age of 30, according to the CDC). Fortunately, if caught at the beginning stages, your dentist can help reverse the disease with a thorough cleaning and then a consistent brushing and flossing regime to follow by the patient. However, with the more advanced stages of gum disease and periodontitis, non-surgical procedures such as scaling and root planing may be needed, which will allow your dentist to clean along the gumline and roots and then smooth out the surface to prevent future bacteria from collecting. From there, the gums will heal and reattach themselves to healthy, clean surfaces of your teeth once again. In advanced cases, a greater intervention may be required such as pocket reduction procedures or gum grafts. As the need of individuals differs depending on the stage of gum disease they are experiencing, regular visits to your dentist are key to prevent potentially harmful conditions from developing related to your oral health.
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