Uploaded August 17,2017
If you have gum disease, your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and you may have bad breath.
However, if gingivitis isn’t treated, a condition called periodontitis can develop.
While most people brush their teeth twice a day, one dentist has revealed a number of surprising tips to help reduce gum disease risk – including leaving toothpaste in your mouth.
Dr Tina Tanna, a dentist, has revealed nine steps to reduce the risk of bleeding gums.
Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes
The ideal times to brush your teeth are before bedtime and at least once more during the day.
Sometimes it can feel like you just haven’t got time to brush for two minutes so if it helps, try and set an alarm on your phone or use an app.
Switch to a specialist toothpaste
If you’re suffering from bleeding gums, switching to a specialist toothpaste that is specifically formulated for people who spit blood when they brush can help. There are clinically proven products available that can help but do ask your dentist if you’re unsure.
Don’t forget to floss
Make sure you clean effectively in between your teeth. Bacteria often hide in places where your toothbrush cannot reach, so regularly cleaning in between your teeth not only prevents gum disease but tooth decay too. Flossing can be tricky for some people, so try using interdental brushes to poke the gap in between teeth.
Mouthwash helps protect your mouth between brushing by maintaining lower levels of bacteria. Importantly though, mouthwash only compliments brushing and flossing but does not replace either. Mouthwash helps rinse out food particles from your mouth and helps deter bad breath as it is designed to leave your mouth with a fresh (normally minty) smell
Fluoride is a mineral which helps to strengthen tooth enamel, helps protect against tooth decay and can also reduce the amount of acid produced by bacteria in your mouth. Therefore, try not to rinse your mouth out with water after brushing as you’ll wash away all the fluoride.
Use disclosing tablets to see how well you are cleaning your teeth
They will temporarily stain any plaque so you can see which areas you’re missing.
Use a small headed toothbrush with soft bristles
Bleeding gums are often caused by using a toothbrush with hard bristles, or by brushing your gums too vigorously but speak to your dentist to rule out anything more serious.
Kick the habit
The gums of smokers are more susceptible to infection because smoking and the use of tobacco causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, reducing the flow of blood and nutrients to the gum tissues so although easier said than done, kicking the habit would be beneficial.
Don’t ignore the signs
If you notice any unexpected changes in your gums (such as bleeding or redness), it could be an early sign of gum disease.
As gum disease is a progressive condition so if left untreated it’s likely to get worse so don’t ignore it. If you’re worried, I’d always recommend booking an appointment with your dentists as soon as possible before the problem becomes bigger.
A survey by GSK, the makers of Corsodyl Ultra Clean toothpaste, has revealed that 84 per cent of people know that bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease, yet nearly half 48 per cent would ignore blood in their spit if they noticed it when brushing because no pain is associated.
“If you spit blood when brushing you may be on a journey to gum disease so it’s a warning sign that most definitely shouldn’t be ignored,” said Dr Tina Tanna.
“While you may be able to rinse the blood away, if you carry on ignoring it, you could start to experience some more noticeable and serious signs of gum disease that, if left untreated, could eventually lead to tooth loss.”
“Bleeding gums are caused by a sticky film called plaque bacteria, which can constantly build up around, on and in between your teeth, as a result of poor oral hygiene.
Tina said: “To help prevent a build-up of plaque, it’s important that teeth are brushed for two minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste. It’s also crucial to floss in between the teeth with dental floss or tape to help remove plaque from those hard to reach areas.
“It’s not a good idea to use a fingernail as our hands often harbour nasty bacteria.”
“If someone notices blood in their spit when brushing, then I would advise them to visit a dentist as they will be able to recommend an appropriate course of treatment depending on the severity of the symptoms.
“There are also specialist products, such as toothpastes or mouthwashes, available which can help to treat the symptoms of early gum disease to stop it progressively getting any worse.””