Why do my Gums Bleed?

One of my patients’ chief complaints is bleeding gums. What is the cause, and why does it happen?

Bleeding from the gums is caused by one of two possibilities:

  • Brushing too hard (trauma)
  • Gingivitis

If you are using a hard toothbrush or brushing incorrectly, this can cause injury to your gums and make them bleed. Ensure that you are using a soft toothbrush and brush your teeth and gums gently in a circular motion.

Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, is caused by an accumulation of plaque around the teeth and gums. If you are not effectively removing plaque from the gum margins, your gums will swell up and bleed in response to the bacterial load in your gums.

How do I prevent/ stop bleeding gums?

Good brushing and flossing technique is essential in effectively cleaning your teeth.

Using a soft toothbrush, brush all teeth in a circular motion. Place toothbrush at a 45 degree toward the gums and sweep the brush down from the gumline.

Brush all teeth for 2 minutes (1 minute on the top teeth, 1 minute on the bottom teeth). Don’t forget to brush your tongue too!

Flossing

Do you know that by not flossing regularly you are not cleaning around 40% of your tooth surfaces? Here’s how to do it properly:

Wind a long piece of floss around your third or middle fingers, leaving your index and thumb fingers free to manipulate the floss.

Gently slide the floss in between you teeth and hug the floss around the surface of one tooth, rubbing up and down to remove plaque.

Move the floss into the gum, cleaning beneath the gumline. This should be done gently to avoid cutting into your gum. Repeat on all in-between surfaces of your teeth.

Although this sounds involved, once you get the hang of it, it will get easier. Start with your front teeth, and as you get better, move toward your back ones. Practice makes perfect. Focus on having good oral hygiene routines and remember, it is not only important to take care of your teeth, but also the gums that support them. Happy flossing!

Do you have sensitive teeth?

Do you avoid eating ice-cream or drinking that cool drinks due to your sensitive teeth? Does it send a sharp jolt of pain causing you to cringe?

Sensitive teeth is a common problem experienced by many. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • Tooth abrasion or erosion

Using a hard brush or brushing too vigorously can cause your gums to recede and expose sensitive areas. In more severe cases, tooth structure can be worn away and these abrasion areas may need fillings by your dentist. It is then important that your dentist assesses the way you brush, and may make recommendations for change.

High levels of acid in your diet can also contribute to acid erosion of your teeth, giving rise to sensitivity. Fruit juices, particularly lemon, and fizzy beverages contain acid. Constant exposure can erode your enamel in the long-term, so it is important to be mindful of your the acidity in your diet.

  • Defective fillings or cracked teeth

If your fillings are defective they may cause leakage of fluid, irritating the tooth nerve, causing sensitivity. If your dentist assesses that this is the case, you may need some fillings replaced.

Over time, biting stress can cause fractures in teeth, particularly if you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth. Cracked teeth can be sensitive, and need to be assessed by your dentist as to the best treatment.

What can I do for relief?

You can use a sensitive toothpaste. Common brands are Sensodyne and Colgate Pro-relief. Using these to brush can alleviate some of the symptoms temporarily. If symptoms persist it is best to seek a professional opinion from your dentist.

Caring for your infant’s teeth

Today I published an article for the wonderful North Shore Mums website about how to care for your infant’s first teeth. Click here to read the article.

If you have any questions about kids’ dental health, feel free to reach out to me through the contact form on this website or call me directly through the clinic. As always, parents are welcome to bring their little ones in for visit to explore the clinic!

Don’t forget our current special offer for kids’ check and cleans, which runs until the end of this year.

Ouch! It’s a tooth emergency

It’s a dreadful thought, but many of us have been there.

Despite our best precautions, sometimes the unexpected just happens. Whether it’s that suspicious particle in your food you just chomped into and chipped your tooth, or your child has fallen over and knocked a tooth, or you’ve had an unfortunate sporting accident that has forced your tooth out of place, here are a few tips on some preliminary measures you can take to remedy the situation before getting it sorted out by your dentist.

Knocked out tooth (dental avulsion)

  • Handle the tooth carefully. Try not to touch the root as it can be damaged easily.
  • If the tooth is dirty, hold it by the crown and rinse it with milk. If you do not have
    milk put it in your saliva but not in water.
  • Keep the tooth moist either in a glass of milk or in your mouth between cheek and
    gum. This is imperative, because, after 15 minutes of dry storage the chances of your tooth surviving are minimal.
  • See your dentist immediately.

Tooth displacement (luxation, extrusion)

  • If it’s the primary tooth of a child (i.e. one of the baby teeth), place a cold wet cloth over the mouth. You can give your child some Panadol for Children to help ease some of the pain.
  • If it’s a permanent tooth, rinse it with cold water, and keep an ice pack over the lip and mouth to reduce swelling. Take some Nurofen for pain and anti-inflammation relief.
  • Try to reposition the luxated tooth back to its normal position using gentle to
    moderate finger pressure.
  • Gently hold the tooth in position.
  • See your dentist as soon as possible.

Tooth Fracture

  • Rinse the mouth with warm water.
  • Use a cold cloth or ice pack to reduce swelling.
  • Take some paracetamol or anti-inflammatory drugs such as Nurofen if the pain is significant.
  • Seek dental advice as soon as possible.

Pushed-up tooth  (dental intrusion)

  • For both baby and adult teeth alike, rinse the area with cold water.
  • Keep an ice pack over the lip and mouth to reduce swelling.
  • If needed, take some form of of painkiller such as Panadol or Neurofen, but do not Aspirin.
  • See your dentist as soon as possible.

Tooth was hit (dental concussion)

  • For both baby and adult teeth alike, rinse the area with cold water.
  • Keep an ice pack over the lip and mouth to reduce swelling.
  • If needed, take some form of of painkiller such as Panadol or Neurofen, but do not Aspirin.
  • See your dentist if possible.
  • Watch for the discolouration of the tooth, because it could imply a damaged nerve which will require root canal therapy.