Is bleeding gums normal?

Is it normal for my Gums to bleed when brushing or flossing?

Answer.  “This question always triggers alarm bells for me because it is clear that the message has still not got through that bleeding from gums at any time is a sign of gum disease.  There should not be blood on your toothbrush during or after brushing or flossing your teeth, on your floss or in the toothpaste you spit in the basin.  If there is, you have inflammation in your gums and it needs to be assessed and probably treated.”

Gum Disease……Who’s Responsible?

Gum disease is an entirely preventable disease.  It does, however, demand that everyone must take responsibility for their own oral health by maintaining a good standard of cleaning.

It is your own home care that matters most.  Whether you use a brush, floss, use interdental brushes, end tufted brushes, Picksters, an electric brush, mouthwashes or toothpaste, no matter what you use, it is how you use it that mattersTooth brushing 4 times a day badly is not going to be as good as brushing with an excellent technique once or twice a day.  So technique matters!  Everyone needs to be taught the best way to clean depending on the level of their susceptibility to either gum disease or dental decay.

Smoking is a Serious Factor

Smokers must be fed up of hearing the same old health messages and must all know by now that smoking is seriously bad for you.  If they smoke despite the knowledge that it can kill through coronary disease, lung cancer, lip and oral cancer and lung diseases, it seems unlikely that smokers will be influenced by the fact that smoking is going to put them at risk of severe gum disease resulting in premature tooth loss.  But smoking is the number one risk factor in gum disease and greatly contributes to loss of teeth.

A Family History of Gum Disease is Common

A family history of parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents who suffered from early tooth loss may indicate that your family has a genetic predisposition to gum diseaseGenetics play a major role in so many medical conditions and gum disease is no different.  However, even if your parents have kindly donated the genes that make you more susceptible to gum disease, if you do all the right things at home in terms of cleaning, you can prevent bone loss and keep the disease at bay.

Gum Disease can Influence General Health

There has been a great deal of information that has been made available in magazines, news and advertising, medical journals and through healthcare providers to maker it clear that gum disease is closely linked with several medical conditions.

Gum disease is clearly a marker for coronary artery disease, stroke and diabetes.  Patients who have received joint replacements and prosthetic heart valves or have heart murmurs are all at far greater risk of suffering severe complications if they have bacteria floating around in their blood.  We call this a “bacteraemia”.   Patients who have gum disease will suffer bacteraemia far more frequently and have more bacteria in their blood than people with no gum disease.  Such bacteraemia can lead to bacterial endocarditis, a severe infection of the heart’s lining with the risk of irrevocable heart damage that may be life-threatening.  So it seems reasonable that if you want to live a long and healthy life you should make sure you don’t allow yourself to become a gum disease sufferer.

For expectant Mums, healthy gums and preventing the development of gum inflammation is important.  The existence of focal infections or local inflammatory conditions will release various inflammatory markers into the system including Prostaglandins and Interleukins that are involved in the initiation of contractions leading to the birth of the baby.  It has been shown that in ladies who have gum disease there is a higher incidence of premature birth and low birth weight babies than women without gum disease.   

So, Mums-to-be, get your gum health checked.

How Widespread is Gum Disease?

Somewhere between 13% and 20% of Australians suffer from that form of gum disease that causes bone to be lost around their teeth (called Chronic Periodontitis).  Assuming 15% is the true proportion, that’s 3, 450,000 people in Australia who need to receive gum disease treatment.  That’s a lot of patients and from the throughput of patients I see, I can tell you that there is a huge under-diagnosis here in Australia and indeed throughout the world.

If you want to know if you have gum disease first clean thoroughly with a toothbrush and then floss and if there is any blood seen at any time on the brush, on the floss or in the toothpaste that you spit out, you need to take action now.

What Does Gum Disease Treatment Involve

For the vast majority of patients treated will only involve the introduction of a detailed home cleaning regime and non-surgical careful cleaning of the root surfaces followed by review and monitoring with periodic cleaning by the dental hygienist.

The treatment, therefore, relies on the co-operation of the patient for success.  To achieve this we have to give the patient the information needed to understand the disease process, the aims of their home care regime and the reasons the treatment works.

Once they have all the facts they can make their own mind up to commit to the treatment and put in the necessary time on their own at home performing the cleaning in the way they have been shown and taught.  If they don’t understand the disease and they don’t understand exactly what they have to achieve then it is never going to be possible to achieve success.

So often dentists speaking about a patient’s plaque control tell the patient they need to try harder!  To the patient try harder literally means clean harder!  This demonstrates clearly that it is the lack of clear communication that leaves patients unclear of what exactly they have to do to achieve the standard of cleaning that will ensure they enjoy good oral health.  Brushing “harder” is going to achieve nothing more than create further problems including tooth wear (also known as tooth abrasion), or tooth sensitivity, particularly with cold drinks.  The message should have been cleanwiser’!  Use the right technique for the right time using the right tools.

Yes, that’s the 3 T’s of Tooth Brushing!

It is a team effort.  Like any team game, success is only achieved when all the team members manage to work together.  This is true of your gum disease treatment too.  The team consists of the dentist, dental hygienist and most importantly the patient themselves.  As long as there are no weak links, the disease will be contained, and the bone loss will cease.

We will make the commitment to you to give you all the help you need and we need you to commit to doing everything that is asked of you at home in your own time if, together, we are going to beat your gum disease.

In our Blog sections, there are numerous short articles on a wide range of subjects including gum disease.  You can read through the gum disease articles in order and they should provide you with a clear understanding of the disease and treatment is far more detail

contact the friendly team at NQ Surgical Dentistry today on (07) 4725 1656 or call in to see us at 183 Kings Rd, Pimlico QLD 4812

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