Patients are often shocked when I advise them to “brush their gums”. The most common responses I receive are “what do you mean?” or “I haven’t heard that before”.
Cleaning teeth adjacent to your gums is equally important as cleaning the rest of the tooth. At CDIC (Cosmetic Dental & Implant Centre), we want to help our patients achieve a healthy mouth (teeth & gums).
Gums over lie jaw bone and are the foundation for our teeth. Unhealthy gums cause damage to the underlying bone and can compromise tooth longevity, even if those teeth are healthy, decay free and have never been filled. Advanced gum diseases causes significant bone loss which makes teeth vulnerable to becoming loose, mobile and ultimately they can be lost.
“But my gums bleed when I brush or floss them.”
There is a common misconception that brushing and /or flossing around teeth causes bleeding. This bleeding is not a result of the cleaning but due to the inflammation and most of the time this can be reversed. Initially, when correct flossing and brushing techniques are introduced, the gums may bleed a little more, however with consistency, the gums should return to good health and the bleeding will cease.
Looking after the gums is simple and does not differ much from looking after the teeth. The position of the soft bristled toothbrush just needs to extend a bit further (at 45° degrees) to gently massage the gums and the floss just needs to go past the tooth and under the gums about 1-2mm. No vigorous scrubbing or jamming the floss in though! The key is to be gentle but thorough!