Do your gums bleed when you brush and floss? Did you know that bleeding gums may be a sign of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease? Bleeding, as well as redness and swelling are classic symptoms. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into the later stages of gum disease. Noticing these warning signs is not a reason to worry, but rather an indication that it is time to take control of your dental health.
Recognizing the Signs
If not removed by regular care, plaque builds up on your teeth, which produces toxins that can irritate your gums and lead to the symptoms of gingivitis. Look out for gums that bleed during brushing, as well as inflammation and tenderness. Bad breath, especially if you experience it regularly, can be another indicator. Teeth that appear elongated due to a receding gumline is another common sign of gingivitis and the later stages of gum disease. Talk to your dentist or dental hygienist about your gum health if you notice any of these signs.
According to the American Dental Association, there are other possible causes of bleeding gums, such as vigorous toothbrushing or a new flossing routine. Switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush may help. Bleeding due to a change in your flossing habits should clear up in about one week. You may notice gums that bleed if you are taking blood-thinning medications. Some women experience gingivitis symptoms during pregnancy, making great dental habits even more important for pregnant women.
What to Do for Healthy Gums
If you notice regular bleeding, then talk to a dental professional about an oral care program that is right for you. The early stages of gum disease are treatable and preventable. Start with good brushing and flossing habits. Schedule regular checkups with your dentist to have any plaque or tartar removed from your teeth. Also, eat a nutritious diet to support your bone and gum tissue. These are all important steps for keeping your mouth healthy.