Each of us arrives on the path to greater oral health at our own unique place. For some of us, it’s a fateful trip to the dentist where we learn something is wrong. For others, it may be something as simple as finding blood on your floss.
Bleeding gums is super, super common. However, like we all know, just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s normal or healthy. We often like to discuss bleeding gums as our ‘poster child’ for trouble brewing mainly because it’s so ‘black and white’.
In other words, unlike many other signs of gum disease, it’s really obvious if your gums bleed when flossing or brushing.
There’s no second guessing whether gums bleed like with many other signs of trouble like swelling or a darker color to the gum tissue. These less obvious signs just don’t easily provide us quick feedback whether we have infection at that spot in our mouth like bleeding gums does.
That’s why we talk so much about bleeding gums. It gives us quick, no questions asked feedback whether we have active infection or not.
The ‘Sad Statistics’ Speak for Themselves…
If you take the ‘official’ count for risk of advanced gum disease (aka periodontal disease), recent research suggests half of the adult population in the US has some form of periodontal disease.1,2
However, our friends who are dentists working in the trenches suggest that these official numbers are way low.
Our friend and mentor, Dr David Kennedy, has shared with us that his years of experience in the trenches suggested that greater than 90% of adults over 30 have some form of active gum infection. And a dismal 65% of 15 year olds already have gingivitis (early sign of gum disease as shown by bleeding gums).
So, whichever statistics you want to believe, we’re all faced with the bad bugs implicated with gum disease at some point in our lives.
Gums Bleed Because of Active Infection…
To understand why gum tissue bleeds when flossed, let’s dive into what’s really going on here.
We get exposed to certain types of microorganisms (we call them ‘bad bugs’) that are disease causing bacteria. These bad bugs begin their organizational efforts along and under our gum line, in the space called the gum pocket (the space between the roots of each tooth and the surrounding gum tissue).
Within as little as 9 days after initial exposure, the bad bugs have irritated the gum tissue sufficiently to provoke a change. In an attempt to ‘shake off’ the irritant, the gum tissue sloughs off the protective outer layer of skin.
This is a natural and unfortunate fact. You see, not only does this sloughing not get rid of the bad bugs, but now the bad bugs have direct access to our bloodstream via the capillaries in our gum tissue (that’s no longer covered by the protective layer of skin in the gum pocket).
This is what causes gums to bleed when flossed or brushed. There’s an active infection in that area and the bad bugs are establishing themselves in that region.
“Why is Bleeding Gums Important to My Health?”
The reason why bleeding gums is a big deal is because the bad bugs now have access to the whole body via the bloodstream. Yes, unfortunately, these disease causing microorganisms can and do swim into the bloodstream to access the rest of the body.
Bad bugs in the bloodstream causes what is called a systemic inflammatory cascade.
As the name suggests, systemic inflammatory cascade creates a whole body chronic inflammatory response to the ‘invader’ that came in through the unguarded window via the bleeding gums.
It’s the chronic inflammation provoked by bad bugs that makes the connection between gum disease and an increased risk of:
low birth weight babies
3 Simple Steps to Stop Bleeding Gums…
Ok, so now that we’ve identified the problem, here’s how to stop bad bugs from continuing to have access to your whole body.
Step 1: Know where you are.
The biggest obstacle with making positive change in our oral health is that most of us don’t know what’s going on in our mouths. We call this a ‘mental disconnect’ with our mouths.
It seems weird because we use our mouths so much everyday. But if you think about it, most of us know more about the relative health of our fingernails than our mouths (even though the health of our mouths plays a huge role in the health of the whole body).
So, step one is to know where you are on the path.
Only if we know ‘our current location’ can we hope to begin to chart a course to improve the situation.
Here are a few resources to help you accomplish this important first step.
OraWellness Mouth Map is a free discovery tool you can download for free from our site here. While a simple action, we cannot overemphasize the benefit this one simple step will provide you.
Here’s a link to an article that talks you through the process of filling out your OraWellness Mouth Map.
When filling out your OraWellness Mouth Map, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the number of spots in your mouth that bleed when flossed (called bleed points) and mark the location of your bleed points on your mouth map. You’ll be referring back to this mouth map in step 3.
If you want to take a deeper dive into this subject, we devoted a whole video session in our free video tutorial course, the 5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth, on awareness. Here’s a link to sign up to receive the free 5 steps course.
Step 2: Operation ‘Disrupt and Disorganize’
To effectively stop the bad bugs from colonizing your gum line, we simply need to consistently disturb the bad bugs. Dr CC Bass called this process ‘disrupt and disorganize’ the bad bugs. He created a great brushing method and a specially designed toothbrush to accomplish this ‘disrupt and disorganize’ strategy.
The challenge is that infected areas tend to be a bit tender.
So, if we brush unconsciously like most of us do, we will tend to avoid the areas that need to be disrupted the most. Avoiding the areas of infection allow the bad bugs to establish an even deeper ‘base’ to do their dirty work.
This is why some people who have active infection find that their gums bleed more when they first start using the Bass brushing technique. They are actively disrupting and disorganizing the bad bugs and this active disruption of the bad bugs might bring a bit more blood.
The good news is within days the bleeding will diminish and stop if you persist with ‘operation disrupt and disorganize’ and be willing to consciously ‘massage and stimulate’ the areas that bleed.
Our popular video ‘How to Brush Your Teeth to Reduce Gum Disease’ tells the story of Dr Bass and shows you the brushing technique that’s so effective to stop bleeding gums. For those of you who prefer to read than watch a video, here’s a link to an article on Dr Bass.
Here’s a link to the awesome Dr. Bass brushes.
Another way you can effectively disrupt and disorganize bad bugs is by flossing.
If you’d like to learn a way to ‘super charge’ your disruption ability with floss, check out this video on “How to Use the OraWellness Blend”.
We wouldn’t be doing this subject justice if we didn’t give a mention to our Healthy Mouth Blend as a great ‘catch all’ solution to assist anyone looking to stop bleeding gums. Here’s a link to a small sampling of the thousands of testimonials we’ve received from happy customers how they have benefited from using the Healthy Mouth Blend.
Oil pulling is yet another excellent strategy that disrupts and disorganizes bad bugs in early stages of gum disease. Here’s a link to more info on oil pulling.
One word of caution, if you have more advanced oral health issues with deeper gum pockets, you’ll need to take more proactive steps to effectively mitigate the destructive process.
Here’s a link to our Healthy Mouth System which is specially designed to empower anyone with advancing gum issues with the tools, knowledge and feedback necessary to create massive positive change in their oral health.
Step 3: Check Your Progress
Ok, so you’ve done step 1 by making note of where you were. Then you took action by consistently disrupting and disorganizing the bad bugs.
In step 3, you simply want to see if the actions you’ve been taking are heading you in the right direction or not. To accomplish step 3, you simply fill out another OraWellness Mouth Map and see how many bleed points still exist in your mouth and compare how many bleed points you found in step 1 with the number of bleed points you find when you check your progress in step 3.
After completing your mouth map, give yourself a big pat on the back. You just stopped a major source of toxins from being dumped into your whole body!
As always, we hope this helps you navigate to greater oral health. Please share this article with loved ones who might benefit from learning how to make massive positive change in their oral health.
Related, Helpful Resources:
OraWellness Mouth Map (free resource)
First Step to Dental Self Empowerment (article)
5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth Free Video Series (video)
How to Brush Your Teeth to Reduce Gum Disease (video)
How to Use the OraWellness Blend (video)
How oil pulling helps improve oral health and whole body wellness (article)
Healthy Mouth System (product solution)
Bass Toothbrushes (product solution)
Healthy Mouth Blend (product solution)