If you brush your teeth and spit out a slight amount of blood it could mean that you have been too vigorous with your cleaning, but it could also be a sign that you have gum or periodontal disease.
Gum disease is quite common although many people tend to ignore the warning signs, not realising that early diagnosis can make a huge difference to the health of their teeth. It is important to recognise the signs of periodontal disease and, if you think you may have it, to do something about it.
Periodontal disease is caused when plaque builds up on your teeth and begins to irritate the gums, causing redness and soreness. Normally, plaque is kept under check with a good oral health regime that prevents the accumulation of bacteria. If the build-up of plaque is allowed to continue, however, your gum may begin to come away from the tooth surface, causing more pockets for harmful bacteria to get into. Teeth can then become loose and the gums further deteriorate.
There are two main types of gum disease:
- Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, where they become visibly red and swollen and can bleed when you brush your teeth.
- If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. The bacterial plaque destroys the gums and the bone that holds your teeth, causing them to become loose.
Gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss and once it gets to the stage of periodontitis it is difficult to reverse. That’s why it is important to visit a dentist like the Alkali Dental Studio in South West London, especially if you think you have the early stages of gum disease.
Bleeding gums and blood in your spit can be the first signs that you have gum disease and the best solution is to make sure that the plaque that causes it is removed. When dental plaque builds up, it eventually turns to a hard, sticky substance called tartar which can creep below the gum line. This is difficult to clean with normal brushing and it’s best to visit a dentist or dental hygienist to have it removed.
Seeking treatment for bleeding gums can help reverse a problem like gingivitis and stop it from progressing to the more serious periodontitis. Your dentist will be able to offer other options as well, such as gum protect, scaling and root planing procedures, which can slow the progress of any gum disease. If you have reached an advanced stage of gum disease, they may also recommend periodontal therapy.
Advice for cleaning your teeth
- Always use a soft filament toothbrush and make sure you brush properly – that means for at least two minutes twice a day and after meals. Hard brushing can be counter-productive as it can damage the soft tissues of your mouth. Make sure you brush on the gums when you spit blood it can help before you visit your dentist.
- Floss at least once a day and make sure you do it beyond the gum line to remove more plaque. Try and use floss after lunch and small interdental brushes before going to bed.
- Rinse with salt water or hydrogen peroxide to give your whole mouth a good clean but avoid solutions that contain alcohol as these can dry out your mouth.
- Smoking and other tobacco products can make bleeding gums worse, apart from all the other adverse effects, so try to stay away from them.
- Eat a balanced diet and try not to snack too much between meals. Food stuffs like carbohydrates and sugars create a good deal of dental plaque.
A regular dental visit can make all the difference to your oral hygiene and help prevent problems like gum disease. If you do notice blood in your spit after brushing then make an appointment straight away. At Alkali Dental Studio in Putney, London our dentists and dental hygienists will be able to give you all the advice you need to prevent gum disease and keep your smile bright and healthy.