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)
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!
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!
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.
As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure.
What we have always emphasised is that no number of visits to the dentist will ever replace good oral hygiene habits. Dental health goes beyond just your teeth. Case in point – a build-up of plaque in the arteries is one of the known causes of coronary heart disease. So not only will good dental hygiene leave you feeling fresh and great, your (whole) body will literally thank you for it.
Here we’ve shared a couple of short instructional videos we think may be useful to some. One relates to tooth flossing and the other about children’ brushing that may be handy for some of us parents out there.
Tip: A quick brush or even a quick rinse is always helpful after that tea, coffee or wine to minimise those stains!
1. Start with about 50cm of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with.
2. Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth.
3. Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath
the gum line. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise the delicate gum.
4. Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.
5. To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth.
Helping children to brush
1. Place brush along outer gum-line. Wiggle gently back and forth. Repeat for each tooth.
2. Brush inside surface of each tooth, using the wiggling technique in Step 1.
3. Brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth using a back and forth motion.
4. Use the tip of brush to brush behind each front tooth, both top and bottom.
5. Don’t forget to brush your tongue!