Keep seeing pink in the sink after you brush? Don’t fall for the popular belief that it’s normal and happens to everyone. Bleeding gums may be a sign of something that’s easily correctable – by brushing less vigorously or flossing every day. But it can also be a warning of something more serious, like periodontal disease or even diabetes. With stakes that high, the smart thing to do is to improve your oral hygiene routine. If your symptoms don’t improve after a couple of weeks, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist.
- Brush twice a day. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is an essential way to stop bleeding gums. Make sure you choose a brush head with soft nylon bristles and brush using gentle, circular motions that massage and clean the teeth and gums – back-and-forth motions can actually aggravate gum bleeding.
- Floss every day. Flossing may be the most important thing you can do at home to prevent the plaque buildup that leads to gum bleeding. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for tips on proper flossing.
- Use a good mouthwash. Ask your dentist to recommend a good fluoride mouthwash, which can help fight bleeding gums. Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol — they can dry out your mouth and actually lead to bleeding gums.
- Keep your tongue clean. A “coated” tongue provides the perfect environment for the bacteria that promotes bleeding gums. Brush your tongue with a tongue cleaner or soft-bristled toothbrush using a front-to-back motion.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. A diet filled with vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and B vitamins will help you maintain healthy gums. Limit your snacking between meals, especially carbohydrates and sugars; these feed the dental plaque that causes bleeding gums.
Keep in mind, no matter how scrupulous you are about oral hygiene, a professional dental cleaning is the single most effective way to remove the plaque that causes bleeding gums – so be sure to see your dentist at least twice a year.
A Closer Look at Bonding
It’s not unusual to feel shy about smiling if your teeth aren’t everything you would like them to be. Stained teeth might inhibit you from smiling as often or as big as you normally would. Chipped teeth and gapped teeth can have a similar effect. But with a little dental bonding, you can start smiling again with confidence.
Dental bonding is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make cosmetic improvements to your teeth.
During a bonding procedure, a tooth-colored resin, or plastic, is bonded to your tooth with an ultraviolet “curing” light. Unlike veneers and crowns, which are sometimes used to make similar improvements, a bonding procedure usually takes just 30-60 minutes per tooth and is often complete in just one dental visit. Another advantage of dental bonding: It requires less prep work than veneers or crowns, so more of your tooth enamel remains intact.
Bonding can even be used to replace existing amalgam (silver) fillings with natural-looking composites. It’s also ideal for treating cavities in the front teeth, where aesthetics are especially important.
Keep in mind that dental bonding isn’t the cure-all for every tooth defect. Bonding doesn’t work well on back teeth or larger cavities. But for the smaller changes, bonding can have a huge impact on the way you feel about your smile.
Dental Myths: Fact vs Fiction
Myth: I can’t see any problems with my teeth, so I don’t need to go to the dentist.
Fact: There are dental problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye – gum disease, hairline fractures and root canal disease are just a few. Dentists use sophisticated technologies – like digital X-rays – to detect problems both on and beneath the surface of your teeth. Plus, it’s a mistake to think of dental visits as emergency care; they’re just as much about preventive care.
Myth: I don’t need to worry about my teeth because my parents never had problems.
Fact: Though genetics may play a small role in predicting your oral health, how well you take care of your teeth will be the single most important determinant in how healthy they are.
Myth: Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal is just as effective as brushing.
Fact: It’s true that chewing sugar-free gum after meals can help clean your teeth, stimulate saliva flow and freshen your breath after meals. But it’s no replacement for a thorough brushing and flossing, which actually removes dental plaque and food debris.
Myth: I shouldn’t brush my teeth if my gums are bleeding.
Fact: Bleeding gums can be a sign that you’re brushing too vigorously or gum disease. Keep brushing, but make some adjustments. Use a toothbrush with medium-soft bristles and brush in a circular motion. If the bleeding continues after a few days, see your dentist.
Myth: If I have a toothache, placing an aspirin tablet next to the tooth will relieve pain.
Fact: Putting an aspirin tablet in direct contact with the soft tissues of your mouth will not help relieve a toothache. In fact, this can lead to painful chemical burns. Don’t do it! See your dentist for relief.
Myth: All dental procedures must be avoided during pregnancy.
Fact: Although certain procedures, such as X-rays or dental surgery, should be avoided during pregnancy, regular dental treatments should continue as usual.