We put a lot of thought into our teeth. Are they white enough? Are we doing enough to keep them clean and prevent cavities? But oral health isn’t just about our teeth. Our gums are the anchors for our teeth, and keeping them healthy is essential. If you have painful or bleeding gums, it’s time to pay attention. Here’s a look at warning signs to be aware of:
What Are Bleeding Gums Telling Me?
Bleeding gums set off alarm bells for most of us. They’re often an indication of gum disease, which we need to address right away. Medical conditions and vitamin deficiencies can also cause gum disease. Here’s a look at what bleeding gums may be telling you:
- Bleeding gums are a common symptom of Gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease caused by plaque buildup at the gumline.
- Bleeding gums can also indicate Periodontitis, a more severe gum disease that can impact the bone and tissue that support your teeth.
- Bleeding gums can be a side effect of some medications, including blood thinners.
- In some cases, bleeding gums are a sign of an underlying health issue like diabetes.
- Vitamin C deficiency can cause your gums to bleed, so good nutrition is essential.
- If you’re new to flossing, your gums may bleed a little when you first start. Remember to floss gently and follow your dentist’s directions.
- Bleeding gums can also indicate a problem with dentures or existing dental work.
What If I Have Swollen/Puffy Gums?
As with bleeding gums, Gingivitis is a leading cause of swollen gums. Here are some other potential causes of swelling:
- Hormonal changes, including pregnancy.
- Infections, including the oral yeast infection known as thrush.
- Swelling around a single tooth may indicate an infection or an abscessed tooth.
What Are My Sore or Sensitive Gums Telling Me?
Like bleeding and swelling, sore/sensitive gums can be an early warning sign of Gingivitis. Here are some other potential causes of sore gums:
- Canker sores or other mouth sores.
- Cuts or abrasions caused by braces or dental work.
- Rough brushing or poor flossing technique.
- Using a toothbrush with stiff bristles.
How Can I Keep My Gums Healthy?
Healthy gums go hand in hand with oral health–and your overall physical health. Here are some tips for keeping those gums healthy:
- Brush and floss regularly and gently.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritation.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Don’t use tobacco products.
- Eat a healthy diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables. Take vitamin supplements if needed to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C and other nutrients.
- Use alcohol in moderation or not at all.
- Make sure you’re seeing your dentist twice a year for routine checkups. Preventive care helps catch any potential problems early.
What Should I Do About Painful or Bleeding Gums?
If your gums are sending warning signs, don’t ignore them. Don’t delay in seeing your dentist. We’ll check for signs of gum disease or infection. One of the first steps is usually a deep cleaning to remove tartar at the gumline. We’ll design a care plan especially for you and may refer you to your primary care provider if we suspect underlying medical issues. We may also prescribe a special mouth rinse to fight plaque and bacteria.
At Greenhill Family Dental Care, teeth are a big deal. But we’re also firmly committed to fostering excellent overall oral health. We understand that healthy teeth and gums go hand in hand. Your gums create the foundation for those beautiful pearly whites. If you experience common warning signs, give us a call and come in for a judgment-free exam. It’s the first step to pain and worry-free oral health.