How to prevent bleeding gums

By | Dental Pathology, Preventative | No Comments

At times when brushing or flossing you may notice some bleeding, it could be a little bit, or it could be a lot. The gums can get swollen, tender and red, a condition called gingivitis.

The cause all comes back to bacteria.

Bacteria releases chemicals that are detected by your body where your immune system tries to fight it off. But the more that builds up, the harder it is for your body to clear it away. Your first line of defense is your saliva, then immune complexes are released from the blood stream in an attempt to reach the bacteria on your teeth. However, once bacteria builds up a thick layer called plaque, it is protected from our body’s defenses. The immune system keeps trying to penetrate into that thicker plaque and as more chemicals are released from bacteria, so too are more chemicals released by the immune system. The result is inflammation: red and bleeding gums.

The solution? Remove the bacteria, aka: plaque.

Plaque is a thick layer of bacteria that has its own defenses from being removed so things like mouthwashes and antibiotics are not that effective at targeting deep into it. That means physical removal is the most effective method. This involves brushing two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Don’t be scared of the bleeding, go gently but thoroughly. Once you’re consistently removing that plaque the bleeding will subside shortly after.

Still bleeding even with thorough brushing and flossing?

Other factors such as calculus (a hard substance that builds up on teeth over time), or poor margins on restorations can lead to areas not properly cleaned. A visit to the dentist to perform a thorough and at times, deep clean, may be warranted. They can also check to see if any of your fillings are defective which may need to be replaced. Other health conditions can also lead to bleeding gums, such as pregnancy (pregnancy gingivitis), uncontrolled Diabetes, certain medications, or other oral pathology. Looking after your health and removal of the bacteria should still resolve your gums. If your gum disease is more severe it may have progressed to periodontitis, which occurs when gingivitis has been untreated for a long time. Periodontitis requires further intervention with a dental professional.

It is recommended to have regular check ups and cleans every 6-12 months. Most health funds will cover two a year so it’s good to be vigilant and take full advantage of this.

End message:

Don’t be afraid of bleeding gums, it just means you need to brush and floss more thoroughly (but gently). And don’t forget your dental maintenance appointments!

Did you know about the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS)?

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The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is eligible for families that receive Family Tax Benefit Part A.  Children between the ages of 2 and 17 will be able to claim up to $1000 worth of Medicare funded treatment over a two-year period.

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule means Medicare will cover up to $1,000 over 2 calendar years for general dental services. The services Medicare will cover include check-ups, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canal treatment and extractions. The services Medicare will not cover are orthodontic treatment, cosmetic dental work, and any dental services in a hospital.

You can confirm your child’s eligibility and balance amount by accessing your Medicare online account at or calling the Medicare general enquiries line on 132 011. Not all dental clinics have accepted to partner with the CBDS or may charge a gap fee, so check ahead before booking. At Smile Design Dental we will not charge you any gap fees for our services – because we want to support this initiative in encouraging good dental health for children.

If your child is not eligible for CDBS then don’t worry, the great thing about Smile Design Dental is we make looking after your children’s oral hygiene more affordable. We offer gap-free or $59 for kids under 6, $99 for kids under 12 and, $149 for adults and kids 12+ for check up and cleans.

Why use a dental mouthguard?

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Sports are a vital part of life for children and adults that keep us fit and healthy. However, they can also lead to injury that can take you out of the game or rack up your dental bill. So, why wear a mouthguard? In the same way helmets protect against head trauma, mouthguards prevent injuries to the face and mouth.
Now you may ask, what is wrong with the old fashioned “boil and bite” mouthguards? Over-the-counter mouthguards are poor fitting, and the lack of resilience fails to provide adequate protection for the entire mouth. With these injury still commonly occurs.
Professionally made mouthguards are the best choice for all contact sports because they are specifically moulded to your mouth. They are perfectly fitted, comfortable, will not shift or fall out, and will not restrict your breathing.
Dental mouthguards are moulded to your teeth so that impact is spread evenly, highly reducing the chance of fractures and injury.
Borders of the mouthguard extend over the gums to protect the deep roots and supporting bone from fractures.
Trimmed to fit over where the support is needed only, reducing bulkiness and chances of gagging that can occur with mouthguards that over-extend.
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