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Bleeding Gums

When often do not care properly for our gums, even though we brush our teeth regularly. Gum health is vital – they are the base for our teeth, after all – but we tend to forget about it because our gums are not ‘on show’ in the way our teeth are. They can be affected by several factors, including oral hygiene, Plaque on the base of the teeth and our general state of health. Without looking at your mouth, I cannot diagnose the exact problem. However, the fact that your gums bleed even while you are eating shows that the ulcerated tissue of the gums is very fragile. Additionally, you may have the problem of bruising easily. So you need to address both these issues.

These are my suggestions

  • One of the most common irritants is the way we clean our teeth nowadays, using harsh, bristle toothbrushes. For anyone who has bleeding gums, I recommend using a very soft toothbrush, brushing in small circles rather than up and down. Hold it as you would a pencil, which lessens the pressure you exert. Use herbal toothpaste, which is much less irritating than mainstream brands. I recommend the Weleda brand, or any toothpaste containing the herb neem. Alternatively, wash your index finger thoroughly and use that to rub your teeth. This latter method may not feel ‘clean’ but it is how people cleaned their teeth before brushes were used. In fact, many people still use this method. Clean your teeth twice a day, before going to bed and after breakfast, to keep them clean and fresh.
  • Which ever way you choose to clean your teeth, massage your gums thoroughly with a clean index finger before going to bed.
  • After every meal, rinse your mouth and gums several times with still water to remove the debris and food particles, which are the main source of gum problems. Bacteria feed on these particles and breed, often producing foul breath.
  • While your gums are bleeding, I do not recommend flossing as this can exacerbate the situation. When the problem stops, you should floss daily.
  • Avoid eating sweets or chocolates, citrus fruits, spicy food, coffee and excess alcohol. When your gums feel better and bleed less, bite on crisp apples and pears (not peeled) to strengthen them. Always chew all your food really well and eat slowly to help the roots of the teeth and gums to get stronger.
  • To help your general health, take Alive Multi Vitamin and Mineral (Integrated Health Group, capsules): vitamin deficiency can affect your gums.
  • Protect your liver, which is responsible for producing the clotting factors in the blood. Reduce the load and help your liver to function better by avoiding alcohol and fried foods, painkillers and stronger medicines such as antibiotics, and yeast products, which produce alcohol in the gut. Eat liver-supporting foods such as radish, corn on the cob, carrots, cherries, celery, garlic and ginger. Also consume one teaspoon daily of good-quality manuka honey (available from health food shops), which is also beneficial for the liver. Drink freshly juiced carrot, apple, peeled root ginger and mint leaves, once a day for a month.
  • Calcium deficiency often causes bleeding gums and contributes to a tendency to bruise easily. Make sure you are not constipated, which prevents you absorbing sufficient calcium from the colon. Drink two litres of still, pure water daily between meals. Eat prunes, figs, beetroot, papaya and bananas. If the constipation persists, take one tablespoonful of fig syrup daily or one tablespoonful of psyllium husks with lots of water (mix thoroughly and gulp down quickly) at bed time for two months. (Both fig syrup and psyllium husks are available from health food stores.) Once the bowels are moving properly, take calcium tablets, such as Vega calcium citrate.
  • Vitamin C deficiency may also cause bleeding gums. Take 500mg vitamin C daily for two months. To provide vitamin C without creating too much stomach acid, you can eat one satsuma (or a kiwi fruit which contains almost twice as much vitamin C) every other day.
  • In addition to consulting your GP and dentist, I recommend consulting a Homoeopath.

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