What can I do about bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums is one of the most common dental problems worldwide. Millions suffer from bleeding gums, and yet it is the most neglected dental health condition. So, why do our gums bleed? Is it ok to live the bleeding gums untreated? What do I need to know about bleeding gums?

Says Dr Krishnaraj Ganeshnarayan, Periodontist, who is into clinical practice for over 18 years-

” Gums bleed due to bacterial infection. Our teeth are held to the jaw bone by way of the gums and a special fibre system called “The Periodontal ligament”. Poor oral hygiene leads to plaque accumulation. This plaque hardens to form tartar that harbours bacteria. This bacteria causes infection and bleeding in the gums“.

What happens when I ignore the initial bleeding in gums?

Bleeding gums is the first sign of gum disease. You have to visit a dentist at this point. Your dentist or dental hygienist will do a scaling and cleaning of your teeth to remove plaque and tartar. If you ignore bleeding gums, the infection will go deeper into the gums and affect the supporting “Periodontal Ligament”. When the infection reaches this point, you will have bone loss and you teeth will eventually become loose.

What can I do if the gum infection has spread deeper?

Dr Krishnaraj recommends_ ” When the infection has reached the bone and the supporting system of the teeth, the treatment options are deep scaling, root planing or gum surgeries. Generally, as a first step, we do a root planing and curettage. After a healing period of 1 week, we evaluate the patient. Any unresolved infection at this point is treated with a surgical procedure. A flap surgery is done in some cases or laser surgery is done in patients with medical conditions. Lasers offer lesser bleeding during surgery and better post operative healing for the patients. The choice of treatment also depends on patient affordability”.

Will I be able to save any loose teeth with surgeries?

Loose teeth are the result of bone loss due to infection and reduced bone support for your teeth. Extremely loose teeth cannot be saved. Moderate loss of bone will be evaluated by your Periodontist by a series of radiographs and may recommend bone grafts as deemed appropriate. The bone grafts help to restore the bone support of the tooth to some extent.

Dr Krishnaraj warns-” The success of any gum surgery is dependent on the good oral hygiene practice of the patient post surgery. Meticulous brushing , flossing and use of the recommended mouthwash is critical to the success of the treatment procedure”.

 

How do I ensure my gums remain healthy?

You can follow the below protocol to maintain good oral and dental health

  • Good dental hygiene habits of brushing, flossing and using mouthwash.
  • Visit your dentist at the scheduled appointments for your check ups. Your dentist will be able to detect any oral conditions at an early stage and recommend treatment accordingly.
  • Follow your dentist’s or dental hygienist’s advice on the proper brushing methods. The correct brushing methods helps remove plaque effectively.
  • If you have more gaps between your teeth, your dentist will advise other interdental cleaning aids like brushes, wooden tips or oral irrigation devices. Ask you dentist the correct way of using these dental hygiene aids.

Finally, Dr Krishnaraj says-” Healthy gums lead to happy smiles. Keep your smile intact’.