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Do you spit blood when cleaning your teeth?

The most common reason for this is inflammation of the gum; which could be a sign of gum disease.

Gum disease can be categorised in two different stages:

Gingivitis
– early gum disease that is reversible through improved oral hygiene techniques at home
Periodontitis – an irreversible condition that happens if gingivitis progresses.

The symptoms of gingivitis
The signs of gingivitis include a red, swollen appearance to the gums which can bleed easily. People most commonly notice that their gums are bleeding when they brush them. Bad breath (halitosis) can also be related to the disease.

The reason for this change in the gums is due to the body trying to respond to bacteria in plaque and fight it off, the same way it would if any other bacteria was to try and affect the body. Plaque is a normal part of everyone’s life, but it is how you manage it that is most important.

Toothbrushing techniques
One way to effectively manage and reduce your level of plaque is by cleaning your teeth properly.

Using a manual toothbrush and an electric toothbrush require slightly different technique. Whichever you are using, if you do it thoroughly you can ensure adequate twice daily removal of plaque and help to prevent tooth decay (not just gum disease).

Below are some ways you can make sure you are cleaning your teeth properly:

Brush twice a day, once before bed and at another time (normally first thing in the morning)
Aim along the gum line, i.e. where the tooth and gum meet
Massage the gum line gently in small circles
Concentrate on one tooth at a time – it’s a TOOTH brush, not a TEETH brush
Try and use a timer to make sure you are using a full two minutes – try mentally dividing your mouth into quarters and spend 30 seconds in each, cleaning all the surfaces thoroughly.

Using something in between the teeth is also key to help stop bleeding gums. Brushing alone cleans around 60% of surfaces, which means that even with excellent toothbrush technique, we’re still missing 40%!