By Dr Harsh Sharma, DHMS, BHMS
Published February 4, 2015, Last updated October 21, 2016
When we think of dental problems, one thing that crops up in the mind foremost is bleeding gums, the other being cavities. As of now, I shall stick to bleeding gums and take up dental cavities in another article. Bleeding gums may be a sign of a localised gum problem or something bigger. It could be due to some serious systemic diseases like blood cancer or low platelet count. In such conditions there are likely to be other symptoms too that point towards a serious systemic disease.
Causes of Bleeding Gums
We are more concerned here with the localised problem. This could be due to poor dental hygiene. The most important reason of bleeding gums is the build up of plaque. It is a small film like structure made up of bacteria. These bacteria tend to get attached to the teeth with the help of this biofilm. It has been estimated that about 1000 species of bacteria may be present in this biofilm. Initially, this biofilm is soft and can be removed by even a fingernail. But within some days, it hardens and cannot be removed easily. These bacteria cause inflammation of the gums. This results in redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums. In most of the cases, there is no pain.
Preventing bleeding gums
There are a few things that can be done to prevent bleeding gums. They are pretty easy to follow and do not take too much time or effort.
- Brush your teeth twice a day. It is very important to brush one’s teeth before going to bed. Night time allows the bacteria to flourish unchecked. It is therefore necessary that one should brush at night before sleeping. This will not only reduce the bacteria but also prevent them from getting rich nourishment from specks of food particles that remain in the teeth.
- Use a soft brush. It is important that one should use a toothbrush with soft bristles. A toothbrush with hard bristles can damage the teeth as well as the gums. At the same time, brushing too hard and vigorously can damage the gums. The correct thing is to brush softly in a way that allows the brush to remove all food particles collected in the teeth. That happens when we brush from above downwards for the upper teeth and from below upwards for the lower teeth.
- One should also brush the inner surface of the teeth. The normal way of brushing teeth that most of us follow is that we brush the outer surface of the teeth. We forget that the inner surface of the teeth can also harbour a lot of bacteria and small food particles. It is important that the inner surface should also be taken care of.
- Drinking a lot of water is also important to prevent gum disease. Also, while drinking water, a lot of collected food particles get washed off thus taking care of dental hygiene.
- Diet also plays a role in gum disease. Intake of Vitamin C and Calcium in good quantities helps in keeping the gums as well as the teeth healthy.
- Avoid tobacco in all forms. Smoking or chewing tobacco is the most detrimental to the teeth and the gums. Chewing tobacco is also the leading cause of oral cancer.
- Intake of extremely hot and cold drinks or food can be harmful for the teeth and the gums.
Homeopathy for bleeding gums
When it comes to the treatment of bleeding gums, Homeopathy has a lot to offer. It has been my experience that keeping good care of dental hygiene and taking Homeopathy provide a good and lasting solution to the problem of bleeding gums. Homeopathic medicines like Carbo Veg, Kreosote, Merc Sol, Phosphorus and Lachesis are quite effective at treating this problem. The final selection of a medicine is made on the basis of individual symptoms of the patient and matching them to the indications of the medicines.