Blood streaks while brushing teeth may sometimes be there on spitting foam of toothpaste, ignorance towards this significant symptom may lead to development of a dental problem known as swollen gums. Swollen gums are medically termed as gingivitis. This problem can appear at any age and its most significant cause is poor oral hygiene. Some of the common symptoms of this problem includes painful gums, irritation and itching in gum, appearance of stony chalky yellow deposit termed as tartar on tooth surface. On finding swollen gum or gingivitis then a natural question comes in mind how it occurred or what could be reason for the problem? Dental scientists have found that it is because of bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria after combining with saliva produces adherent and colorless layer on teeth medically known as plaque. Reasons for this problem are improper food habits which includes soft sticky diet such as pizza, burger, jellies, chocolates, cake. Medical conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy increases incidence of this problem. Habit of smoking and certain drugs such as steroids, antidepressants and oral contraceptives can cause gingivitis. Stress is also a contributing factor for bleeding gums. Still some rare causes are forceful tooth brushing, vitamin K deficiency and leukemia.
When gingivitis is extensive it can cause loss of supporting bone surrounding teeth and teeth may become loose. Almost everybody brushes his/her teeth daily but unfortunately they are ignorant about manner of tooth brushing.
Dietary modification: Change dietary habits from soft, sticky food to fibrous diet to improve health of gums. Fibrous diet has detergent action on teeth, it clears tooth surface from food debris. In women during pregnancy additional care should be given to oral health. A regular dental check –up by dentist after every six months should be ensured to establish good oral health.
Now another question that comes to your mind is when should you replace your toothbrush?
Management: Procedure of scaling for cleaning tooth surface is used. In scaling stony hard deposits (tartar) from tooth surface is removed mechanically. It can be done by ultrasonic scalers or by hand instruments but scaling by ultrasonic scaler is less time consuming and is efficient method. Scaling procedure may involve more than one visit depending on health status of gums. However, a common myth about scaling is that teeth may become loose but it’s not true. Fact is that, after removal of stony hard deposits healthy gums surround teeth. Scaling procedure should be followed by warm saline rinses 3 to 4 times daily for a limited period of time. Medicated gum paints prescribed by dentist also aids in improving health of gums. If using mouthwash for bleeding gums, its use should be limited for a specific duration only. Prolonged use of some antibacterial mouthwash are reported to have caused tooth staining.
Ayurvedic Management: An Ayurvedic saying is ‘Trifla, trikuta, tootia, kalanamak patang daant vajra sam hot hain maja phal ke sang’ which means that amla, harar, behera, blackpeper, piper longum, dry ginger, black salt and nutmeg and this formulation according to specified standards if applied locally on gums as powder makes them very strong. All these herbs being astringent in action squeezes gums and stops bleeding. This powder has antiseptic action also. In Ayurvedic texts there is a description of adding honey to this powder to make it a tooth paste. It shows that idea of tooth brush and tooth paste are as old as Ayurveda which is around 4000 years old Indian system of medicine.