Bleeding Gum Problems and Treatments
Bleeding gums is one of the most common dental issues dentists treat each year. While the situation is usually preventable with good oral hygiene practices, the vast majority of people will deal with gum inflammation or bleeding during their lifetime. Gum bleeding is a telltale sign of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease usually comes in two main types, which are gingivitis and periodontitis. If your gums are bleeding whenever you brush or floss your teeth, it could mean your gums are experiencing the first stage of gum disease. This condition, however, is usually very treatable and preventable.
Common Causes of Bleeding Gums
Gums can bleed for a number of reasons, but the following are the most common:
- Gingivitis: Bleeding gums may be a sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is a type of periodontal disease that is usually a result of poor oral hygiene. This type of gum disease occurs when there is a buildup of bacteria and plaque around the gum line, causing gums to become inflamed and easily irritated. Gingivitis can also cause the gums to become puffy and discolored and, in some cases, to recede.
- Periodontitis: Periodontitis tends to develop in the advanced stages of gingivitis. This gum disease is caused by the same factors that cause gingivitis, but it progresses to an infection of the gums, the tissues surrounding the roots of the teeth and the jawline. People with periodontitis can experience bleeding gums, pain, severe sensitivity and other symptoms.
- Vitamin deficiencies: Sometimes, vitamin deficiencies can cause your gums to bleed. This is especially common in people who are deficient in vitamin C and vitamin K. Maintaining a balanced diet and taking necessary vitamin supplements can help curb gum bleeding.
- Rough brushing or flossing: Brushing or flossing too aggressively can also cause your gums to bleed. While abrasive brushing and flossing may feel like you're making your teeth cleaner, it can actually damage both your gums and tooth enamel.
Oftentimes, gum disease requires professional treatment for gums to become healthy again. If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, you have relatively simple and effective treatment options. Your dentist will know which treatment is right for you based on the type and severity of the disease.
1. Root Scaling and Planing
Gum disease is almost always accompanied by a buildup of plaque and tartar near the gum line that can extend deeper than the edge of the gum itself. To remove the plaque and tartar, dentists use a method known as root scaling and planing.
Root scaling refers to the process of scraping away the plaque and tartar buildup around the teeth and especially below the gum line. Once this excess is scraped off, the dentist uses a small tool to smooth the roots of the teeth that were just scaled. This process is known as root planing. The purpose of root planing is to allow the damaged gums to reattach to the roots more easily after the bacteria has been removed. This process is typically completed in one to two visits depending on the extent of plaque buildup.
Sometimes, dentists will recommend antibiotic medication following a root scaling and planing treatment. Medication for gum periodontal disease is typically administered in-office, where the dentist will apply the medication using a fitted tray that covers your teeth. In some cases, the dentist may prescribe internal antibiotics after the initial treatment.
3. Continued Preventative Care
The best offense to gum disease is a good defense. Even if you've had treatment for gingivitis or periodontal disease, you can prevent it from coming back with good brushing and flossing habits — especially as you get older. To keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day with an electric or soft bristle toothbrush and floss every day as well. Especially if you've had recent dental work, remember to use care when brushing and flossing so you don't scratch your gums and cause bleeding.
And don't forget to schedule regular preventative dental cleanings! People who come in for regular cleanings dramatically reduce their chance of developing gum disease later on in life.
About Anderson Dental
Anderson Dental Group is a full-service dental group in Payson, AZ. We are dedicated to our patients' dental health and comfort and strive to provide excellent dental care to the surrounding community. Our experienced, friendly and patient staff love to help patients restore and maintain good dental health for years to come. Your smile makes us smile, so bring your dental care needs to our office and experience the best of Arizona's dental care. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!