Understanding Red, Puffy and Irritated Gums

When your gums are red, swollen and irritated, and you notice blood in the sink after you brush or floss, these are some of the first signs of early gum disease, or gingivitis, which is quite common. Gums go from healthy pink and firm to irritated and red due to increasing amounts of plaque on the teeth as the body’s inflammatory response kicks in. When the gums are inflamed and irritated, they bleed easily when brushed or flossed.

The most common cause of gum disease is an inconsistent oral care routine at home. Improper brushing technique can also exacerbate these issues. Not brushing and flossing regularly or properly allows food and bacteria to lodge in between the tooth and gums creating a home for bacteria to multiply and become dental plaque. This build-up of plaque at the gum line, if not removed with a good, healthy clean-mouth routine, can harden into tartar, which can only be removed with professional dental tools.

What’s crucial to know is there is a window of time when gums are bleeding and inflamed when you can still reverse the bacterial infection in its infancy simply by improving your oral hygiene. So, while gingivitis is not serious, it needs to be taken seriously and acted on, or it will become advanced gum disease (periodontitis), which is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Rinse twice daily, stick to gentle, twice-daily brushing with a soft bristle or electric brush and floss once daily.

Also be sure to schedule regular dentist visits for plaque and tartar removal.