Monday, 28 May 2012

My gums bleed when I brush my teeth - what should I do?

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, it could be a sign that you have periodontitis (gum disease).
Healthy gums should be able to withstand being brushed and flossed without bleeding but, if yours bleed, then you should see a dentist as soon as possible.  There are a number of reasons why gums can bleed but bleeding is a common symptom of periodontitis, more usually known as gum disease.

Periodontitis is an inflammatory disease affecting the tissues around the teeth.  It involves progressive loss of the alveolar bone which, if left untreated, leads to the loosening, and ultimate loss of teeth.  The symptoms include (but are not restricted to):
  • Bleeding gums
  • Recurrent swelling of gums
  • Loosening teeth
  • Halitosis (bad breath) or persistent 'metallic' taste in mouth
  • Gum recession (or apparent lengthening of teeth as the disappears)
Periodontitis is treated by deep cleaning of teeth below the gum line by dental hygienists to reduce the 'pocket' size (the depth of the gap between the tooth and the surrounding tissue).  More serious cases my require referral to a specialist periodontist - a dentist who specialises in the treatment of these conditions.  However, in all cases, the first stage of the treatment is to see your dentist who can assess your symptoms, diagnose the underlying problem and prescribe suitable treatment for you.

The best way of avoiding periodontitis is to maintain a good oral health regime to include brushing for two minutes twice a day and regular interdental cleaning (using either floss, interdental brushes or water jets).  At AllClear, our dentists and hygienists will be happy to help you maintain healthy teeth, gums and mouth and can advise you on a suitable oral hygiene regime and products to assist you.  Call in, phone 020 8688 3869 or see our website for more information.

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