Most of us have suffered from slightly bleeding gums at some point. Swift treatment is needed when your gums bleed.

Gum disease, where the gums become red, swollen, sore and bleed, is very common. However, it should not be left untreated. More flossing or interdental use is needed, not less.

Main types of gum disease

There are three main types of gum disease, gingivitis, periodontitis, and acute necrotising alcerative gingivitis (ANUG)

It can start with gingivitis, an inflammation of the tissues that surround your teeth. If gingivitis isn’t treated, it can lead to periodontitis, which can affect the bones and ligaments that support your teeth. ANUG is a serious type of gum disease that develops suddenly.

Gum disease isn’t always painful so regular dental check ups are a must.

THE LOW DOWN ON Gingivitis

Gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque, a soft, sticky substance caused by bacteria. If you don’t clean the plaque off your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, it can cause your gums to become inflamed. Your gums may bleed when you brush them but aren’t usually painful.

If you remove the plaque and look after your teeth and gums well, your gingivitis is likely to get better. But if you don’t get the plaque off properly, you may develop a more serious type of gum disease called periodontitis.

The symptoms of gingivitis are:

  • Bleeding after cleaning or flossing your teeth, or eating something hard like an apple
  • Occasional cases of bad breath (halitosis)
  • You might also notice red or swollen gums

If you have symptoms of gingivitis, you may be able to resolve this at home with brushing and flossing techniques. Or you can see a hygienist for a professional dental clean. This will involve removing any traces of tartar, plaque, or bacterial products.

the low down on Periodontitis

If your gingivitis isn’t treated, the inflammation may spread to the ligaments and bones that hold your teeth in place. This is a type of gum disease called periodontitis. Your gums may begin to pull away from your teeth, leaving pockets. These pockets trap plaque that you may not be able to reach with a toothbrush.

Over time, the plaque hardens to become tartar. This may irritate your gums even more by collecting more plaque. The pockets may then get deeper and even more difficult to clean, making the problem worse. Sometimes you may develop an infection in your gums. Pus may collect under your gums, causing an abscess.

Untreated periodontitis can cause your gums to shrink back from your teeth (called recession). This may then expose some of the roots of your teeth, making them sensitive. If you have any bone loss, your teeth may feel loose. If your periodontitis isn’t treated for a number of years, you may even lose some teeth.

If your gingivitis has developed into periodontitis, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Gum recession and sensitive teeth
  • A wobbly tooth
  • A bad taste in your mouth
  • Gum abscesses (pus that collects under your gum)

If you have any of these symptoms, you must see a dentist.

what the hell is Acute necrotising ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG)

ANUG is a serious type of gum disease that develops suddenly. It is a bacterial infection that causes swelling, ulcers, bad breath (halitosis) and pain. ANUG must be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.

The symptoms of ANUG include

  • Very painful ulcers that bleed easily
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • A metallic taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing or talking
  • Having a lot of saliva in your mouth
  • You may also have a high temperature and feel generally unwell

Wowzers right??? Well, if you have any of the above please please please get yourself to a dentist. If you can. I mean I’ve spoken a lot about the NHS Dental shortage so you may not be able to get into a dentist in your area. My advice would be to call 111, explain how serious it is and the pain you are feeling. Try and get into a dentist that way. Call all the dentists in your local area to try and get an urgent appointment.

If you are on any kind of benefits you’ll be able to get free dental treatment on the NHS or at least very discounted treatment. Children get free treatment so don’t leave your little ones to suffer the effects of gum disease.

I know this may not work, I read an article about how many people are having to opt to treat their dental health themselves DIY fashion, it was as sad as you can imagine and completely unecessary. So don’t be afraid to push push push to get dental treatment if you have to.

Be that person, fight for your health and that of your family.

90% of adults in the UK have some form of gum disease and more and more adults are losing teeth to gum disease every year. More than to tooth decay even.

Whilst the above is all pretty doom and gloom there are things you can do to stop getting gum disease.

  • Good dental health includes brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day – I’d recommend an antioxidant toothbrush such as our Brightening Antioxidant Toothpaste and one of our charcoal bamboo brushes.
  • Floss floss floss. I cannot recommend flossing enough. It’s a faff but so worth it.
  • Interdentals are your friend to get into the pockets that floss may not be able to reach.
  • Repeat. The more you do it the more likely the bleeding will stop and the more you will get used to a routine.
  • Don’t forget to tongue cleanse as well. This will definitely help getting rid of some of the yuck.

Sadly we are more susceptible to get gum disease if we smoke, have diabetes, are pregnancy, taking medication which makes your mouth dry, or eating too many sugary foods. Getting older or having a weak immune system can also make you more susceptible to gum disease.

Yay! so some of us need to work a little bit harder than others but a dental routine with flossing, cleaning and interdental use is beneficial to all.

Just one thing, please don’t smoke, it’s a bloody horrible habit. Not easy to quit and complex but honestly, it causes so many issues and stinks.

Happy flossing!

Jayne x

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