Seeing Red When You Brush? NOT Normal!

Posted on May 02, 2013 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

To clean something, to get it really clean, we often think about using ‘elbow grease’ to give a good scrubbing, often with the help of an abrasive substance such as Comet Cleanser. Yet, when it comes to your teeth, such rigorous action can damage gum tissue. When you use baking soda or other abrasive substitutes for toothpaste, the damage can be severe over time. Those good intentions to have a ‘well-scrubbed’ mouth can backfire, leading to exposed tooth roots, gum disease and even tooth loss.

It is recommended that you use a soft bristle toothbrush and a standard toothpaste with fluoride. Rigorous scrubbing is not necessary. Use a circular and swiping motion on all teeth, on all sides. However, blood in the sink when you spit doesn’t mean you did a good job. As a matter of fact, this can be a warning sign of gum disease.

If you see blood, lighten up on the pressure you are using. Flossing carefully so you are not ‘popping’ the floss into between teeth, which can cut gum tissue. If you still see blood after a week, you may have gum disease. Periodontal (gum) disease will only worsen without treatment and you should be seen by a periodontal specialist as soon as possible. Because gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S., early treatment may save your teeth.

Signs of periodontal disease include:

  • Gums that bleed easily, or are red and tender;
  • Gums that recede from teeth, exposing tooth root portions;
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth;
  • Teeth that become loose;
  • A change in the alignment of teeth or fit of your dentures or partials.

If you have noticed any of these signs, call (828) 274-9440 for an examination.

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