Bleeding gums can be a sign that an individual has or is at risk for gum disease. Ongoing gum bleeding may be due to serious medical conditions, such as leukemia and bleeding and platelet disorders. Bleeding gums should not be ignored
The main cause of bleeding gum is the buildup of plaque at the gum line. This leads to a condition called gingivitis, or inflamed gums.
Plaque that is not removed will harden into tartar. This will lead to increased bleeding, and a more advanced form of gum and jawbone disease known as periodontal disease.
There are other causes of bleeding gums, including but not limited to, any bleeding disorder; brushing too hard; hormonal changes; ill-fitting dentures or other dental appliances; improper flossing; infection, which can be either tooth- or gum-related; leukemia; and certain vitamin deficiencies.
It may seem redundant to visit the dentist twice a year, and patients may wonder why they should have to go twice when in the past they only went once a year. As people age, their need for preventive dental care is as strong as their need for preventive health care. This is because proper diagnosis of dental problems, like proper diagnosis of health problems, can save the patient in the long run. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is essential that we visit the dentist at least once every six months for plaque removal.
Teeth should be brushed gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush at least twice a day. It is best, if possible, to brush after every meal. Mouthwashes that contain alcohol, which can make the problem worse, should not be used.
Flossing teeth twice a day can prevent plaque from building up (an oral irrigation device set can be even more beneficial). It’s also important to follow a balanced, healthy diet, avoid snacking between meals and cut down on carbohydrates.
Have regular periodontal exams.
Avoid the use of tobacco, which aggravates bleeding gums.
Control gum bleeding by applying pressure directly on the gums with a gauze pad soaked in ice water.
If an individual has been diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency, he/she should take vitamin supplements.
An individual should see his/her dentist if his/her dentures or other dental appliances do not fit well or are causing sore spots on his/her gums.
People should follow their dentist’s instructions on how to brush and floss so they can avoid hurting their gums.
Cardiodontal is located at 310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck. To make an appointment with Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, call 516-282-0310. See ad on back page.