Brush, Brush, Brush and would a little flossing hurt?
As I write this article, I wonder why it is that being told to brush and floss every day is a requirement and perhaps the best message any dentist can deliver. In our DC dental office there are usually only two reasons for bleeding gums. It’s the body’s way of telling its owner that there is something wrong with your teeth. It ranges from something as little as, 1) a food particle being caught between your teeth and the gum line; or something more serious as, 2) periodontal disease. Your teeth are as important as any other part of your body and taking care of them is essential to good living, but ignore it and you can create unnecessary dental disease and pain.
For the more serious cause, bleeding gums is a possible symptom of periodontal disease severe enough to lead to loss of gum tissue that is needed to hold your teeth in place. (Dental Graphic) The purpose of brushing and flossing is to keep your gums from pulling away from your teeth. When this happens, usually by a build up of plaque, small pockets form that collect bacteria. In addition, plaque that is not removed hardens into calculus under your gum. If bleeding gums are left untreated and you know that you are not cleaning your teeth and gums properly, you can damage your gum tissue, your teeth and even the bone. All this adds up to unnecessary pain.
From the ADA’s Mouth
According to the ADA, symptoms of periodontal disease include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Gums that are red and swollen and bleed easily (for example, when you brush or clean between your teeth);
2. Gums that seem to have pulled away from the teeth;
3. Constant bad breath;
4. Pus between your teeth and gums;
5. Teeth that seem to be loose or moving away from one another;
6. Change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite;
7. Change in the way your partial dentures fit.
Questions to ask yourself about your teeth
Ask yourself one question: Do my gums bleed when I brush or do I have any of the above symptoms? Has it been more than 6 months since by last dental visit? Do I fear the dentist more that I hate pain?