When your gum bleeds…

Last week, a reader wanted to know if they should go to the dentist to have their teeth professionally cleaned each time their gum bleeds.

Professional cleaning of teeth is medically known as scaling and polishing. Whether or not a person should undertake this procedure depends on the state of your oral health and what your dentist recommends.

Polishing is usually done to get rid of soft tartar on the teeth. However, if not removed early enough, the tartar becomes firmly attached, making it hard to be removed using a toothbrush.

Scaling or polishing can be carried out every six months.
But when your gum bleeds in the process of cleaning, it could be an indication of a disease or oral inflammation.

This happens when plaque builds up on the gum line, after which it produces toxins that irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. This in turn causes bleeding during brushing.

Early stage gum disease can be reversed since most of the tissues that hold the teeth in place are usually not affected by then. Beside gum diseases, bleeding can also result from wrong teeth brushing techniques.

•Maintaining good oral health will help keep plaque from building up and causing dental-related problems.
•Avoid use of tobacco, which aggravates bleeding in gums.
•People with vitamin deficiency need to take supplements to reduce their risk of developing gum bleeding.
•Brush teeth gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush twice a day. Do not use mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as this can make the problem worse.
•Professional cleaning of teeth by a dentist ensures that plague that has hardened into tartar can be removed easily. However, if the condition is severe, a root planning procedure may be performed. Root planning and scaling is done when gums have either started to pull away from the teeth or the roots of the teeth have tartar on them. The procedure helps to make the roots of the tooth smooth and difficult for plaque to buildup on.
•It is always important to seek professional aice from a dentist when you realise your gum is bleeding. This reduces the chances of the condition aancing to what is known as periodontitis. Periodontitis damages the supporting bones and fibres that hold the teeth in a firm position.

The writer is a dentist

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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