DID YOU KNOW? Your Gum Health could be an indicator of your overall health!


Last Modified: May 20, 2024


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Picture yourself as a teenager, eagerly gearing up for another day of high school. In between all the excitement and preparations, you catch a glimpse of your reflection and notice something different– your gums appear swollen with an unusual redness. As you go about your morning routine, a streak of red appears in the sink while brushing. Is this merely a passing phase, or could it signify a deeper, more concerning issue?

Keep reading to understand it from the experts at Clove about the importance of healthy gums and its correlation with overall health.

Bleeding gums are one of the most common and ignored oral health problems, it occurs when there is a dental plaque build up, leading to gingivitis, periodontitis or other severe forms of gum diseases, but did you know aside from being a sign of diseased gums, it often also points to other health issues as well.

Possible Causes:

  • Gingivitis is a disease that leads to inflammation of the gums. Some of the common health issues that may lead to bleeding gums are diabetes, hormone changes during puberty, pregnancy or menopause, Vitamin K and Vitamin C deficiency (Scurvy), stress, medication (for ex. Blood thinners), anemia, HIV/AIDS etc.
  • Using incorrect brush or brushing technique
  • New to flossing and the gums are not yet used to it
  • Accidental trauma to gingival tissue
  • Ill fitted dental appliances, such as retainers or aligners

Gum Health and Hormones:

While men and women both experience hormonal changes that lead to changes in oral health, men especially during puberty but women being more susceptible to oral health problems all through their life because of the unique hormonal changes they experience during various stages of life such as

  • In puberty, the blood flow to gum tissue increases changing the way tissue reacts to irritants in plaque, leading to bright red, tender and swollen appearance of gums.
  • During the monthly menstrual cycle, or in women who take birth control pills, increase in progesterone leads to bright red swollen gums, swollen salivary glands or development of canker sores.
  • Hormonal levels change considerably during pregnancy, leading to a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
  • During menopause, decline in estrogen puts women at a greater risk for loss of bone density, leading to tooth loss. Receding gums are a sign of bone loss in the jaw, along with dry mouth, tooth decay and altered taste.

Assess your gum health at home:

While we are here for all your oral health needs, it never hurts to take a few minutes every week and assess your gum health. Take a mirror and follow the steps:

  • Take a good look at your gums, do they look swollen? Try and compare it with healthy gum images available online
  • Try and assess if they look higher or lower than where they used to be, it may be a sign of diseased gum
  • Run your finger along gums and tooth checking if they seem wobbly or do they bleed suddenly upon touching

When to seek help?

If you notice any of the above changes or the bleeding gums do not improve within two weeks, it is recommended to seek the help of a trained dental professional. Depending upon the severity and underlying cause, a dentist or a gum specialist (periodontist) recommends the appropriate treatment plan.

Common gum disease treatment strategies include:

  • Tooth scaling and root planing, i.e., deep scaling
  • Osseous surgery, helps to reduce the size of pockets formed around the teeth, thus reducing food lodgement
  • Laser periodontal surgery, helps in reducing the gingival overgrowth
  • Removal of the underlying triggering factors, for ex trimming of the denture or readjusting appliance or switching to a softer toothbrush
  • In cases when there are bleeding gums but no gum disease, i.e., no plaque or calculus accumulation, the healthcare provider will figure out why the gums are bleeding by the help of a few laboratory tests to determine if you have any vitamin deficiency, diabetes, blood clotting disorders or underlying health conditions and devise treatment plan accordingly
  • In cases of gingivitis secondary to hormonal changes, it is recommended to visit your dentist twice a year for a professional oral examination and cleaning.

What would happen if left untreated?

When in diseased state, i.e., gingivitis, If not taken care of, it might lead to periodontitis, a gum condition that further damages the tissue and bone, continuing a cycle of infection, bad breath, bad taste and even loose teeth in mouth. If periodontal disease is left untreated it leads to the loss of some of the teeth.

Can it be prevented?

Yes, being proactive always helps, in many cases to reduce the risk of gum bleeding. We at clove dental, with 500+ centers and a team of 1400+ doctors are here dedicated to your well being, this is what our experts suggest:

  • Teeth cleaning and polishing to be done every 6 months, it helps in creating a smooth tooth surface, preventing the adherence of plaque or calculus.
  • Brush two times a day at least
  • Ask your doctor for correct brushing technique demonstration on next visit
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Floss once daily

As guardians of our oral health, it’s vital to recognize that our mouth serves as gateways to our well being, signaling distress when neglected, look for them closely and never shy away from asking for professional guidance. Remember, while you own your oral health, we are the experts in its care. Dispelling the myth that neglect is safer than cleaning, cleaning doesn’t lead to loose teeth but not getting timely cleanings done surely does.

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