You are brushing your teeth and notice a bit of pink when you spit out the toothpaste. You might notice some bleeding when you floss. Although the smallest amount of blood might not seem like a big deal, if your gums are bleeding consistently, you should not ignore it. Bleeding gums can happen for a number of reasons, from gingivitis to a side effect of pregnancy. Changing your oral care routine can also make your gums bleed, at least at first. Here is what you can do if you do notice some bleeding.
1. Step Up Your Oral Care Game
Plaque contains bacteria, which produce acids that attack the tooth enamel and can damage your gums. If bacteria deposits from plaque on teeth are not removed through regular brushing and flossing, they cause build-up of tartar, a calcined material that plaque adheres to and continues to irritate the gums. This causes bleeding and can progress into more advanced forms of gum disease. The best way to reduce plaque buildup and your risk for bleeding gums is to maintain proper oral care routine.
Remember to brush twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once a day as well; gums can sometimes stop bleeding with regular flossing. And of course, seeing your dentist on a regular basis - not just when you have a problem or concern - is also a must to keep your oral cavity in the best shape.
2. Take a Look at Your Tools
If you do brush and floss regularly and get your semiannual dental visit in, your oral hygiene care tools could be the cause of your gum bleed. Although it might seem that a toothbrush with medium or firm bristles cleanses your teeth and gums more deeply or thoroughly, harder bristles usually just cause irritation which can be why your gums are bleeding. The Indian Dental Association recommends always using a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles, such as Colgate® Slimsoft which has extra soft bristles designed to reach deep between teeth for an effective clean without irritation.
In some cases, it might not be the tools that are causing the bleeding, but the way you are using them. If you have been out of the habit of flossing, start again. You might see a bit of blood at your gum-line, but remember to always handle them gently and avoid pressing the floss against your teeth and gums too hard.
3. Maintain a Healthy Diet
What you eat and when you eat it also plays a part in keeping your gums from bleeding. Foods that contain lot of sugar or simple carbohydrates increase your risk for tooth and gum problems, as sugar creates an ideal environment for plaque formation. Commit to a diet that is low in sugar and high in the necessary nutrients like vegetables. You don't have to ban sweets from your life. Just remember to eat them in moderation, and brush after these snacks so that the sugar does have time to stick around.
4. Consider Your Medicine
Certain medicines also increase the likelihood that your gums will bleed. Some over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, thin the blood and can therefore increase bleeding. It is also possible for a prescription medication to cause gum bleeding, in which case, your doctor might prescribe a different dose or a different medication altogether. Always talk to your doctor if you think a medication is causing side effects, even if they seem mild.
5. See Your Dentist
If changing your oral care habits, adjusting your medications, and maintaining a healthy diet does not help your gums stop bleeding, your next step should be to make an appointment with your dentist. He will examine your teeth and gums and if treatment is needed, such as a deep cleansing or periodontal surgery, you will be advised to consult a periodontist, who specializes in treating gum diseases.
In some cases, bleeding gums are no big deal, but in certain instances can warrant professional treatment. With the right diagnosis and personal care, bleeding gums can become a thing of the past.