Friday, March 29, 2013

My Gums Bleed When I Brush. What Does It Mean?

If you've noticed some bleeding after you brush or floss your teeth, it's most likely an early sign of gingivitis - a condition that causes your gums to swell due to the accumulation of plaque. Gingivitis is not a serious health risk in and of itself; however, if left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious issues like periodontitis and bone loss.

A patient with gingivitis will usually have red, puffy gums, especially after brushing or flossing. Fortunately, proper oral hygiene will usually resolve gingivitis. In other words, if you can improve your dental care routine, you may be able to cure gingivitis on your own, without having to make a trip to the dentist's office. Some patients find that using an antiseptic mouthwash along with proper brushing and flossing helps prevent gingivitis.

It should be noted that not every case of gingivitis is caused by plaque. Sometimes, gingivitis is the result of a specific virus, bacteria or fungus. Other cases may be caused by trauma, reaction to foreign bodies or even genetic factors. If you find that your gingivitis is not going away, even with improved oral hygiene, it may be that your condition is a non-plaque induced gingival disease. Talk to your dentist about the possible causes for your condition and the necessary treatment.

If you're not sure whether you have gingivitis or not, here are a few common symptoms to be mindful of:
  • Bright red or purple gums
  • Gums are tender, uncomfortable
  • Gums are painful to the touch
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Gums appear puffy and swollen
  • Gums have receded
If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, don't hesitate to contact Dr. Melcher. These may not be serious risks to your health at first, but if left untreated it could lead to significant problems in the future. Implant and General Dentistry is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. Call us at 919-782-0548 or visit us online to schedule an appointment.

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