By Rachel Moshman
Bleeding gums when you brush or floss is often a symptom of gum problems, caused by plaque accumulation. Fortunately, bleeding gums doesn't necessarily mean it's too late to turn the health of your gums around. There are two components to the treatment of bleeding gums - quality oral care at home and professional treatment at a dental clinic.
Professional cleaning and treatment
Many people are found to have gum problems during a routine dental visit. The dentist or dental hygienist can often notice bleeding, swelling and irritation while examining the teeth and gums. During the professional cleaning, plaque and tartar are removed from around the gum line and from the surface of the teeth.
The dentist or other dental practitioner will examine the positioning of your teeth, jaws and dental work, such as crowns and bridges, to determine if there is an alignment problem preventing you from brushing or flossing effectively. If so, the dental practitioner will make suggestions for treatment or strategies to overcome this problem.
Periodontal charting should be done to check your gum tissue and determine if you have gum recession. This will be done again at future appointments to analyse if gum health is improving or declining.
The dental practitioner may go over proper brushing and flossing procedures with you. This gives you a fresh start for going forward with oral care at home. Make sure to attend your follow up appointments. Regular exams and cleanings are important for improving and monitoring gum health.
Caring for your teeth and gums at home
Bleeding gums can be a sign that you need to step up your dental hygiene routine at home. Consistent and proper brushing and flossing will go a long way to improve the general health of your gums.
Brush twice a day and floss at least once a day. Many dentists suggest adding an antibacterial mouthwash to the home care routine.
Colgate recommends starting with the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle towards the gum line. Move the brush back and forth across the teeth and gums using short, gentle strokes. Brush each tooth on all surfaces using this technique. Then use the tip of the brush to get the backs of front teeth on both the top and bottom. It is also important to brush your tongue. The Colgate® 360°® Sensitive Pro-Relief™ Toothbrush has a tongue cleaner on the other side of the toothbrush bristle head.
Flossing can be tricky, especially if your teeth are close together. Use Colgate's recommendations for the most effective cleaning. Place the floss between your thumb and finger and gently slide it between your teeth. Curve the floss into a "C" shape. Move it up and down around the tooth, including under the gum line. Do not use a sawing motion or apply excess force. Use a new section of floss for each tooth. An interdental brush helps with areas that have space like crown and bridge work and implants.
Good oral health habits and regular professional cleaning visits go a long way in maintaining your total mouth health.