When it comes to dental health, many of us tend to only focus on cavity prevention; however, good oral health should also include healthy gums as they play a critical role when it comes to supporting your teeth and safeguarding your overall health. That said, gums that are swollen or bleeding are usually a sign of gum disease and should not be neglected. There are a variety of other things that can contribute to gum disease including hormonal changes, tobacco use, and poor oral hygiene.
Poor Brushing Habits and Gum Health
Although poor oral health and smoking are generally responsible for swollen and bleeding gums, poor brushing techniques can also cause these symptoms. For example, brushing too vigorously can irritate delicate gum tissue. While this is generally temporary, repeatedly brushing your teeth in this manner can potentially lead to serious dental problems. It is also important to note that using the wrong toothbrush like those with hard bristles, for example, can damage delicate gum tissue. For fresh breath, whiter teeth, and all around good oral health, a toothbrush with soft nylon bristles will more than suffice. This general premise applies to both manual and electric toothbrushes.
How Improper Flossing Can Damage Your Gums
Much like poor brushing techniques, improper flossing can also damage your gums, causing them to bleed and also become inflamed. Of course, this is not to suggest that you forgo flossing altogether as doing so helps to remove plaque and food particles that can become stuck in-between teeth. However, to avoid irritating your gums when flossing, it is a good idea to use minimal pressure and gently guide the floss in-between teeth as opposed to using excessive force. After that, it is simply a matter of using an up and down motion and making sure to follow the natural curve of each tooth.
Oral Health and Gum Disease
If your gums are bleeding despite using good brushing and flossing techniques, it may be an indication of gum disease which can adversely affect one’s physical health; several studies show that gum disease increases the risk of developing heart disease by as much as 19 percent. In addition to heart disease, gum disease has also been linked to diabetes. Fortunately, routine dental exams can catch gum disease early before it leads to tooth loss and other problems that impact your physical health. Some of the more common signs and symptoms of gum disease can include:
– Deep pockets between teeth and gums
– Inflamed or tender gums
– Receding gums
– Gums that bleed while brushing
– Halitosis (bad breath)
– Foul taste in the mouth
– Shifting teeth
if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is imperative that you schedule an appointment as soon as possible.