Good oral hygiene isn’t only about preventing cavities, your gums are just as important as your teeth. Bleeding or swollen gums can be a sign that you’re brushing too hard or not flossing correctly, or it could be a symptom of gum disease. Here, we take a closer look at these top 3 causes of bleeding gums.
1. You’re brushing too hard
Your gums are really delicate, so brushing vigorously can damage them. Choose a manual or electric toothbrush with soft bristles, use gentle, circular motions to clean teeth and massage gums, and don’t brush for more than 2 minutes.
2. You’re not flossing correctly
Flossing daily helps remove plaque and food particles that your toothbrush can’t reach. There’s a right way to do it though. Don’t force floss between your teeth, rather slide it carefully between each tooth. Also avoid reusing floss – that’s just gross!
3. You might have gum disease (don’t worry – it’s fixable!)
The plaque that builds up on your teeth is caused by bacteria, and if you don’t brush and floss every day, this bacteria can cause your gums to become swollen or start bleeding. Once it reaches this stage, it can easily lead to gingivitis – the most common gum disease. It’s fixable if you catch it early and start practicing proper oral hygiene, but if you leave it, it can get worse and become infected.
If you have any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign of gum disease – in which case it’s time to make an appointment to see your dentist:
- Deep “pockets” between teeth and gums
- Gums that bleed during and after brushing
- Shifting or loose teeth
- Persistent bad taste in the mouth, or bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tender, red or swollen gums
- Changes in the way teeth fit together when you bite
Our top tips for treating bleeding or swollen gums:
- See your dentist every 6 months for a check-up, scaling and polish
- If your gums are bleeding, brush your teeth very gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush, and rinse with salt water
- Avoid any commercial mouthwashes which contain alcohol
- Floss gently, every day
- Don’t smoke – tobacco aggravates swollen and bleeding gums
- Don’t take aspirin unless your doctor has recommended it
Treat your gums with love! Remember, there’s no healthy smile without healthy gums!