Bleeding gums are never something to take lightly. In
fact, it is one of the most identifiable signs of periodontal disease (gum
disease). If left untreated, you could be faced with various oral and
health-related conditions and problems. So, what should you do if you notice
the signs? As the world battles a current pandemic, COVID-19, let a dentist
explain when you should treat your problem at home and when to seek the help of
a licensed professional.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection that attacks the soft tissues of
your mouth and causes your gums to become red, inflamed, and even bleed while
flossing or brushing. As plaque and tartar spread around your teeth and gum
line, it can begin as gingivitis and quickly escalate to periodontitis. As a
result, you might experience bone and tooth loss as well as the potential for
heart attack, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and more.
At-Home or In-Office Care: Which One is Right for You?
The moment you begin to notice the signs of gum disease, it’s
time to act. If caught in the early stages, you can reverse the symptoms with
proper at-home care. Some helpful include:
- Practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth
twice daily for two minutes and flossing at least once a day to remove plaque
and tartar around the gum line.
- Rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide, as this
will remove plaque and encourage better gum health as well as stop the bleeding.
- Quit smoking. This bad habit weakens your immune
system, making it harder to fight off the infection that causes gum disease.
- Find ways to relax. Too much stress harms your
immune system, so take walks, read a book, or enjoy a long, hot bath.
- Take Vitamin C to help fight off gum disease and
other infections. Carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes, and red peppers are all
great sources of Vitamin C.
- Increase your daily consumption of Vitamin K.
This will reduce bleeding and help your blood to clot. Spinach, Kale, and other
greens are great sources of Vitamin K.
- Use a cold compress if your bleeding gums are
the result of an injury or accident. This will reduce swelling and help
restrict blood flow.
Eating fewer carbohydrates, drinking green tea, and rinsing
your mouth with saltwater can help in reducing bacteria in your mouth and stop
But when does gum disease warrant seeing an emergency
dentist? It can be difficult trying to determine when to seek help, especially when
trying to practice social distancing because of COVID-19. While most dentist’s
offices are closed and seeing only patients with serious injuries, it is best
if you call your dentist when your symptoms do not improve within 7-10 days. At
this point, it may be necessary to undergo a deep cleaning procedure to remove
the harmful plaque and tartar.
Just because the world is facing a new “normal” for now
doesn’t mean your oral health should take a backseat. If at-home care isn’t
enough to combat the infection that is causing your gum disease, call your
dentist and request an appointment. Their dental team will work to get you the
help you need, so you can enjoy a healthier smile.
About the Author
Considered one of the top dentists in Northern Virginia, Dr. Wayne Myles has provided comprehensive dental services since 1997. Attending SUNY at Binghamton, he graduated with a degree in biology before going to Georgetown Dental School and graduating in 1990. Helping patients achieve healthier smiles, he and his team can address a wide range of dental problems, providing beneficial treatments as well as tips and at-home techniques to follow. To learn more about Dr. Myles, or for questions about our services, visit our website or call (703) 925-0800.