Most of the time, your mouth is teeming with bacteria. Germs love moist dark places with lots of carbs and sugars to snack on, and your mouth provides the perfect environment for it to thrive. Unfortunately, the result of all of this bacterial activity can be gum disease. Bleeding gums are an early sign of gum disease, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash for bleeding gums can help stop the condition in its tracks.
Bacteria and Gum Disease
The connection between bacteria and gum disease is fairly simple. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) describes periodontal (gum) disease as your body's natural inflammatory response to the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Although redness, swelling, bleeding and bad breath are early signs of gum inflammation, this first stage of gum disease – called gingivitis – can be reversed. But it is going to take a bit of effort on your part, and an antimicrobial mouthwash can give you an advantage.
Benefits of Antimicrobial Mouthwashes
Not only can an antimicrobial mouthwash help reverse gingivitis, but a mouthwash that reduces and eliminates bacteria in your mouth can also prevent inflamed and bleeding gums, according to the American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site. A mouthwash like Colgate Total® Advanced Pro-Shield™ gives you 12 hours of protection against bacteria that cause plaque formation and gingivitis. This type of alcohol-free rinse is available without a prescription and is safe for everyday use. The ADA always recommends that you choose a mouthwash that has the ADA's Seal of Acceptance.
Dentists often recommend the use of a prescription-strength antimicrobial mouthwash for patients who are already undergoing treatment for gum disease. Colgate® PerioGard®, for example, is a therapeutic prescription rinse used to treat gingivitis. Its key ingredient, chlorhexidine gluconate, kills many kinds of bacteria that can cause bleeding, inflammation and plaque formation over time. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research also confirms that prescription antimicrobial rinses are used to control bacteria after gum surgery.
The ABCs of Oral Hygiene
If your gums are bleeding and you are experiencing other signs of early gum disease, using a mouthwash for bleeding gums can help improve the condition. But as any dental professional will tell you, there is much more to do if you want to regularly protect your mouth from harmful bacteria. And now is the perfect opportunity to review your oral hygiene basics:
- Are you thoroughly brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste?
- Are you using a soft-bristled toothbrush and replacing it every three to four months?
- Are you flossing between your teeth once a day?
- Are you seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar?
- Are you using an antimicrobial mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Acceptance?
If you answered "no" to any of these nitty-gritties of oral hygiene, you may be letting the bacteria in your mouth have their way with your gums. The essentials of keeping bacteria under control and your gums healthy are at your disposal; staying keen to the signs of infection allows you to make the best of them.