A common joke that people make involves the dentist doing something dangerous and saying “Oh, you’re just bleeding because you don’t floss.” While it may seem funny, bleeding gums are no joke. They can be a sign of serious problems like gum disease. So, how can you combat this issue? Read on as a dentist in Columbia talks about 5 things you can do to stop your gums from bleeding.
1. Brush and Floss More Often
When you go even 12 hours without brushing or flossing, plaque can build up on your teeth. Plaque that is not brushed away hardens into a substance known as tartar, which contributes heavily to gum disease. Gum disease attacks the structures supporting your teeth and can eventually lead to tooth loss. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day too.
2. Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
If you regularly brush, floss, and visit your dentist, it might be your oral hygiene products that are causing your bleeding. It might seem like toothbrushes with medium or hard bristles would do a better job of cleaning your teeth, but they can actually do more harm than good. Harder bristles can irritate the gums and wear down enamel, resulting in more sensitive teeth. Make sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush gently.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
Sugary foods and beverages attract plaque that increases your risk for cavities and bleeding gums. You can still consume sweets, but be sure to do so in moderation. Also, remember to brush afterwards so the plaque doesn’t have a chance to stick around and do damage.
4. Look at Your Medicine
Certain over-the-counter pills, such as aspirin, thin the blood and increase the chance for bleeding gums. In addition, some prescription medications can also cause gum bleeding. If you think your bleeding is being caused by one of your medications, talk to your doctor about possibly switching to a different one. However, NEVER stop taking a medication without first seeing your doctor.
5. Visit Your Dentist
Your dentist will be able to diagnose the problem better than anyone. Whether your bleeding is the result of a gum infection or simply brushing too aggressively, a dental professional will help you solve the problem by performing a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. Then, he or she will create a personalized treatment plan based on your needs.
Bleeding gums are no laughing matter. See your dentist right away if you follow these steps and your symptoms don’t improve.
About the Author
Dr. Philip Batson is a 2014 graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. He is also a member of several organizations, including the American Dental Association, the Missouri Dental Association, the Central Dental Society, and the Academy of General Dentistry. He currently serves at president of the Missouri Academy of General Dentistry. To help diagnose and stop your bleeding gums, contact Dr. Batson at (573)-875-7071.