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Swollen, bleeding gums can be uncomfortable and unattractive. These are also hallmark signs of periodontal disease, which can severely impact your oral health. Your general health could suffer too.

What Symptoms Should I Look out for?

  • Bleeding during Flossing—many people will only experience bleeding gums when they floss or brush their teeth. Pay special attention during your hygiene routine.
  • Change in Texture—healthy gum tissue is firm, smooth, and lies flat next to the teeth. Swollen tissue may have a rolled margin along the teeth or appear visibly inflamed.
  • Change in Color—gum tissue should be evenly pigmented and light pink or coral. Dark pink, red, purple or even blue gums could indicate something is wrong. 

Do I Just Need to Brush and Floss More?

Oral hygeine is vital to the equation, but there are other risk factors. A buildup of bacterial plaque, the catalyst for gum disease, is most often the cause of swollen and bleeding gums. Oral infections, allergic reactions, and mouth ulcers, or canker sores, can increase your risk of swelling. Certain types of vitamin deficiencies and hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, can also impact your gum health.

A Closer Look at what Causes Swollen, Bleeding Gums

  • Bacteria—the bacteria that cause gum disease release toxic substances. This causes the soft tissue to become infected and increasingly inflamed
  • Injury to the Soft Tissue—brushing too aggressively or using a hard-bristled brush can irritate the delicate tissue. Burns from hot food and drinks can also injure the gums
  • Pregnancy and Birth Control—puberty, pregnancy, and menstruation, as well as oral birth control, cause a rise in certain hormones. This leads to increased blood flow to the gums, which can make them swell and bleed more easily

Bleeding gums are never normal, not even when you have your teeth professionally cleaned.

Lisa Marie Samaha, DDS, founder and director of the Perio Arts Institute

John F. Rink DDS, AAACD

So How Can One Prevent Swollen, Bleeding Gums?

  • Don’t Forget to Brush and Floss—if you tend to hit the sheets without flossing, break that habit. In fact, some dentists recommend brushing and flossing twice-a-day at least
  • Refine Your Arsenal—are your toothbrush bristles soft and pliable? If not, swap it out. Better yet, invest in an electric toothbrush which is gentler on the gums
  • Rule Out Meds and Other Causes—speak with your doctor about medications or medical conditions that could be causing bleeding or swollen gums. They might also test you for vitamin deficiencies, infections, and more 

See a Dentist if Symptoms do not Resolve on their Own

In some cases, symptoms will clear up on their own. This is often true for injuries, such as a burn to the mouth. If symptoms remain, your dentist can review the frequency and severity of your concerns and recommend an appropriate treatment. Your doctor may also perform an oral exam and measure periodontal pockets if you suffer from gum disease.

Professional and At-Home Care Remain your Best Defense

  • Treatment for Gum Disease—first, visit a dentist to determine whether you require a deep cleaning. Also known as scaling and root planing, this step is often sufficient if a regular professional cleaning cannot restore your gum health.
  • Antibiotic Therapy—if your gums are infected, the doctor might also apply topical antibiotics. These can kill harmful bacteria and allow the soft tissue to heal.
  • Periodontal Maintenance—gum disease often requires ongoing treatment. Some people may require more frequent cleanings to control the growth of bacteria. Typically, these patients will need to visit a dentist or periodontist every three months.

Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19 View Update

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To Our Wonderful Family of Patients:

Last night, my wife Connie and I enjoyed the most delicious take-out dinner from FIG restaurant. As always, the food was excellent; however, it was most satisfying to see the local restaurant, along with others, begin its comeback. Our resilient city feels like it is coming back to life—parks are opening and folks and families are enjoying the wonderful spring Charleston air. The Rink dental team is, too, readying itself for the next chapter of practicing dentistry as the community begins reopening its doors.

We are concentrating on continuing to advance our rock-solid foundation of state-of-the-art infection control. We were blessed to keep our dedicated and passionate team employed during the crisis, and have devoted the entire month of April to research, systematically developing, purchasing and installing the best additional infection control protocols and equipment available. We are ready. This month we will begin the process of a “soft opening” of our practice. What this means for our patients is a resumption of the same excellent restorative, esthetic, and preventive care in the safest and most secure environment available anywhere.

Additional safety steps will include asking our patients to wait for their appointments in their cars rather than in the reception area. We will ask that you take a moment to fill out a short questionnaire upon your arrival regarding your health and recent travels. We will take everyone’s temperature (including the team) with a forehead scanner as you enter the practice. We will clean and disinfect all touchpoints in the office in between each patient. We have procured the highest quality KN95 masks and face shields for the staff and have carefully researched and purchased the most advanced aerosol containment and purification systems available for the safety of all our patients. These are a few examples of how we have added additional layers of protection for your and our staff’s benefit.

Finally, I wholly understand that each one of you is an individual with specific desires, needs, and comfort levels. I want you to know that we are here to actively listen to you and to create the best environment for your emotional health. Some will be ready sooner than others to receive care again at our office. Let’s keep the lines of communication open and please know that our relationship with you and your family is our highest priority.

We look forward to reuniting with everyone but until that time it is our wish that you enjoy good health, good spirits, and peace.

To your optimal dental health,

- John F. Rink, DDS, AAACD and team

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