dentist in vaughan

Why Do Your Gums Bleed?

Have you ever noticed that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? Whether it happens on a daily basis or only occasionally, it is a cause for concern. Often, people will think that their gums are bleeding because they brushed or flossed too hard. While it is possible to injure your gums if you floss incorrectly, the most common reason for bleeding gums is inflammation. Let’s have a closer look at gum inflammation, its causes, and the negative effects it has on the body.

Gingivitis

Gum inflammation is another name for gingivitis. Gum inflammation is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed. This is usually caused by an accumulation of bacteria, plaque, and tartar on your teeth. To prevent or treat gingivitis, you have to mechanically disrupt the bacteria in your mouth with daily brushing and flossing. This lightens the bacterial load so that your body’s immune system can manage the bad bacteria. If you aren’t keeping your mouth clean with good oral hygiene, the bacterial load becomes too much, and an immune reaction (inflammation) is activated. While inflammation is important for healing, it is bad for your overall health when it is chronic.

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While the primary cause of gum inflammation is bacteria and the need to improve oral hygiene, there are health conditions that can lower your resistance to the bacteria and make you more susceptible to inflammation:

Pregnancy

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The increased hormones during pregnancy can make you more likely to develop gingivitis. Your body may have an exaggerated response to the bacterial plaque in your mouth, causing your gums to become swollen, red and bleed easily. Having excellent oral hygiene will help to prevent this condition.

Diabetes

There is a link between uncontrolled diabetes and gum inflammation. If your blood sugars are not well controlled, you are more likely to have gum inflammation. This also works the opposite way; if you have gum inflammation, it can make it more difficult to control your blood sugars.

Stress

Stress can lower your body’s resistance to bacteria and viruses, making you more likely to get sick and more likely to develop gum inflammation. Managing stress will help to keep your immune system running as it should.

Poor nutrition

A diet lacking in vitamins can slow healing and put you at risk of poor oral health. Make sure to get enough vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.

Why you should care about gums that bleed

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. This condition affects not only the gums but also the supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Without the bone support, teeth can become loose and need to be extracted. While this is worrying on its own, gum disease can affect more than just your oral health. It is known that the bacteria in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout your body causing other health problems. The connection between our oral health and overall health is known as the oral-systemic link. Studies have found there are links between uncontrolled gum disease and heart disease, stroke, dementia, complications with diabetes and pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and even some types of cancers.

If you or anyone in your family has any of the above health conditions, it will be especially important for you to maintain excellent oral health. Good oral hygiene habits and regular professional dental cleanings will help to keep your mouth healthy. If you are concerned about bleeding gums, call us today!

The Importance Of Baby Teeth

A common myth is that primary or baby teeth are not important because they will fall out. While it is true that we do lose those teeth eventually, they do serve essential functions. Losing baby teeth early can result in negative consequences.

Facts about baby teeth:

  • They begin to come in around six months of age, with the first tooth usually being a lower front tooth.
  • There are 20 teeth in a full primary dentition, and most children will have their full set by age 3.
  • Children begin to lose their primary teeth around age 6. They will have a mixed dentition (a mix of adult and baby teeth) until they lose their last baby tooth, usually around age 12.

Why are baby teeth so important?

  • They are essential for eating and chewing to ensure proper nutrition for a growing child.
  • Primary teeth are essential for normal facial appearance and proper speech development.
  • Primary teeth hold the space for adult teeth to erupt. If primary teeth are lost early, and a space maintainer is not put in place, this may cause the remaining teeth to shift and block the normal eruption of the adult teeth. This can lead to crowding and misplacement of adult teeth.

The main reason for the early loss of baby teeth is decay. As soon as the first tooth erupts in the mouth, it is susceptible to cavities. With proper oral care, cavities are mostly preventable.

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Caring for baby teeth:

  • The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children have their first dental checkup within six months of the first tooth erupting or by age one.
  • Before teeth erupt, make a habit of cleaning the child’s gums daily with a clean, wet cloth. As soon as the first tooth erupts start daily brushing. Use an age-appropriate soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Do not put babies to bed with a bottle of milk and do not let milk pool in a sleeping child’s mouth. Milk (including breast milk) contains sugars that can lead to cavities.
  • Brushing will need to be monitored and assisted by parents until the child has the dexterity to brush correctly on their own. This is usually when they can write their name (in cursive writing, not printing).
  • For children less than three years old, swallowing toothpaste may be an issue. A dental professional can assess the child’s risk of decay, and they may recommend the use of a small amount (no larger than a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent cavities.
  • For children aged three to six, use a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste when brushing and encourage them to spit out the toothpaste.
  • Floss your child’s teeth daily, especially between the back molars where decay is more likely to start.
  • Limit sugary drinks and foods. Some tooth-friendly snacks are raw fruit and veggies, cheese, nuts, and seeds.

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Signs of decay in baby teeth:

  • White spots or lines forming on the teeth could be an early sign of decay.
  • Dark areas or visible holes.
  • Child complaining of pain in their mouth.

Untreated decay leads to severe pain and infection. If you suspect your child might have a cavity, see your dental professional immediately. Taking good care of their primary set of teeth will help to keep your child healthy and developing properly.

Book your appointment now, because it starts with a smile!
Call us today at (905) 856-2535