Very often our patients ask if a little bleeding after brushing and flossing is normal. The answer is no, if the technique used to brush and floss is correct and atraumatic, no bleeding should be present.
The main reason as to why gums bleed is because they are swollen, and they swell because of the body responding to bacterial plaque along the gumline. Bacterial plaque is the accumulation of food debris and bacteria. When the body tries to fight the bacteria in this plaque it becomes inflamed in the process, this is called Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums).
As mentioned before bacterial plaque is the main reason we have bleeding gums, but sometimes it is not only incorrect brushing that causes bacterial plaque buildup, dental decay or poorly adjusted fillings can make this plaque harder to remove.
Additional causes for gingivitis:
–Hormonal changes: it is common that during puberty, menstruation and pregnancy there is an increase in gingival bleeding. It is crucial that the person´s oral hygiene routine during these periods be more rigorous.
–Medications: Birth control pills can have an effect on the gums that manifest as gingivitis. That is why women who use them should follow a strict brushing and flossing regimen and visit their dentist every 6 months for a dental cleaning.
–Systemic disease: Conditions such as Diabetes Mellitus and Leukemia can have an oral manifestation. That is why it is extremely important that if symptoms don’t change after modifying the patient’s brushing and flossing techniques, the patient be re-evaluated by their dentist to rule out other conditions.
How do we treat bleeding gums?
-The first step is to visit the dentist. In this appointment, dental decay or poorly fitting restorations are checked and corrected if need be. Then the patient should have a dental cleaning to remove tartar (dental calculus) that is firmly attached to the tooth and only special instruments used by the dentist can remove it.
-Establish an oral hygiene routine using a soft toothbrush and floss. Brushing should be carried out for 2 minutes twice a day and flossing can be done once a day. If the patient has very spaced out teeth, crowns and bridges or implants additional tools such as a special floss and interproximal toothbrush should be added to the routine.
-As an aid in the patient’s oral hygiene protocol a mouth rinse can be included. This product won’t replace the need to floss, but it will take care of hard to reach places as the cheek and tonsils.
Always remember that to maintain your oral health it is very important to visit your dentist every 6 months, that way you can keep your gums and teeth healthy!