Hey, guys, Dr. Lepore back with another frequently asked question video. This time we are going to talk about “why do my gums bleed?” Is it really normal, is it really common? We’ll address that right now. So is a little blood in the sink really that big of a deal? And the answer is yes. I love this analogy, “if you wash your hands every single day and you scrubbed them together, and you looked, and every time you looked, they bled? You’d probably be concerned, and you’d probably go to a doctor about it. Now is it really that different when you’re scrubbing your gums or brushing your teeth? And the answer is no. Bleeding is a sign of inflammation, so we call that Gingivitis. I’m sure you’ve heard it on every toothpaste and toothbrush commercial since the beginning of time. But what does it mean really? It’s when the food you eat mixes with the minerals in your saliva and makes something called plaque. Plaque then gets hardened by the same minerals in your saliva into something that we called tartar and calculus. When that is there for a period of time, your body treats that as a war and wants to attack, attack, attack until it goes away. But just like barnacles on the side of a sea wall, unless you go and physically scrub that away, it stays there, and the problem is when it stays there. Gums that bleed for a very long period of time will start to cause bone loss around the teeth. It’s the same thing as when you get a splinter in your finger, and you left it there. Left untreated, if you looked down and it was taking away the finger or the bone in the finger, you’d be scared out of your mind. But in our mouth it doesn’t hurt, so we don’t see it, so we don’t think anything about it. But this is a number one cause of tooth loss; it’s not taking care of our gums and our teeth. It’s not the cavities; it’s the gums. So, embarrassingly enough, I’m one of those patients that have to get cleanings more often because I’m at a higher risk. What makes me a higher risk is that my gums notoriously have bled since I was a little boy. I thought it was just me, but even since becoming a dentist and brushing and flossing two to three times a day, I felt a little defeated when I wasn’t getting the results I was after. And that’s when believe it or not, I had to humble myself before our hygienist team, and they gave me some tips and tricks like a different toothpaste and even as simple as a different type of floss or insider trading secret; I had to learn how to floss better. A little embarrassing for a dentist, but they still were able to teach me these things, and I know that they can teach you these things as well. If for a long period of time, let’s say you are a patient that has a history of gum disease or periodontal disease. In our office, we can fabricate for you a custom set of trays that are made in a laboratory that help deliver medication. So let’s talk about that medication; it’s actually hydrogen peroxide, which your body produces naturally, so it’s a very natural ingredient that kills the bacteria that causes this inflammation, that causes the gums to bleed, that causes the bone to be lost around them. And then it’s something that I wear for 20 minutes every day once a day, and voila, things have been notoriously better since. So a lot of times, it’s just one or two simple tricks or tips that we can give you to get you over the hump to help take away that feeling of feeling defeated, that every time you brush or floss, there is always a little bleeding spot. We can help you, and we look forward to doing so.
As a person with extreme anxiety (especially at the dentist) I have to say, this is one of the few places I have ever felt comfortable. Well, as comfortable as I can, that is. The staff has always gone out of their way to make sure I was doing okay and never made me feel like I was being ridiculous (even though I usually am). I am greatly appreciative of their patience, humor, and honesty.