1. You have gingivitis
When plaque and its cavity causing bacteria build up on your teeth, your gums (the gingiva) can become inflamed. The result is gingivitis. Painless and virtually symptom free, gingivitis is easily missed unless you notice bloodstains on your toothbrush or dental floss.
“Gingivitis is an ignored disease because it’s not painful. It’s out of sight, out of mind,” says Doig.
But left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, a critical oral condition characterized by the destruction of gum tissue and tooth loss.
Luckily, gingivitis can be reversed, and completely avoided
. “Gingivitis is virtually 100 percent preventable,” says Doig. Meticulous oral hygiene – brushing and flossing – to remove plaque from the teeth, in addition to regular visits to your dentist can keep bleeding gums and gingivitis at bay.
2. You smoke
Smokers are at a higher risk of experiencing bleeding gums.
“Smoking tends to cause an increase in periodontal disease for a variety of reasons,” says Doig. Inhaled smoke can leave irritating toxins on the teeth that can be difficult to remove through oral hygiene.
These unhealthy substances can cause the gums to become aggravated and bleed. Smokers can also have a compromised immune response to infection, and issues with proper healing and oxygenation of the blood supply – all factors that can negatively influence your gums.
Quit smoking and your gums will thank you.
3. You consume a nutritionally poor diet
If you don’t follow Canada’s Food Guide and eat the recommended daily servings of fresh vegetables and fruit as well as grains, dairy and protein, you could be setting your gums up for inflammation.
“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an important defense,” says Doig. A balanced diet is key for not only a healthy body, but also a healthy mouth. And forget about so-called ‘miracle’ foods that are purported to keep gums healthy and prevent oral disease. Such foods don’t exist.
“The only miracle is the toothbrush,” says Doig. “A combination of good oral hygiene and overall health is the best prevention.”