I have asked a question before about how I noticed brown spots on my teeth in someplaces and thought they were cavities, and asked what I should do about them. Well finally today I went to the dentist and had an xray done. I have not had one done in over 2 years. Well turns out I have zero cavities. The problem is, the dentist that was there today(not my regular one, he was not there today) cleaned my teeth and I have never had a cleaning that was THAT painful. I dropped one tear and had to wipe my nose in the middle of cleaning lol. She was so rough(or it seemed that way). I was bleeding so much. So after she was done cleaning, she mentioned that my gums were bleeding and that I need to floss. My question today for you all is, why did my gums bleed so much, and what can I do that can help my gums heal. What is the proper way to floss? As always I expect some great answers from you geniuses lol.
Well, given that you said you haven't had an x-ray done in 2 years (I'm assuming a dental check-up) you probably have a lot of calculus/tartar buildup. Calculus is actually plaque (the sticky/furry feeling film on your teeth) that has been allowed to cake on for a long period of time. Bacteria are present in our mouth, and certain types (gram negative anaerobic bacteria to be exact) colonize the surface of the tooth and create a sort of mineralized structure (like a coral reef) from minerals in your saliva. Usually dentists recommend getting a cleaning at least once a year to remove calculus, particularly in the front lower teeth, and the upper back molars (where salivary ducts are present). Most people collect a decent amount of calculus over time, although I'm not exactly sure how the Paleo diet plays into calculus accumulation.
I am guessing that since the calculus had built up, the hygienist/dentist had to remove a larger than usual amount of calculus (and therefore needed to use more force, possibly the ultrasonic cleaner to remove it). The gums become sensitive when calculus accumulates in the area, due to the fact that the calculus is considered an irritant, and the gums become inflammed. Over time, the gums actually become diffuse and soft, and bleed easily due to the localized inflammation from calculus, plaque, and bacteria.
Now that you've cleaned the excess calculus from your teeth, your gums should return to normal in as little as five days, and the bleeding should stop, and the sensitivity should go away. The oral cavity is actually a very quick-healing place, due to the high level of vascularity present.
I am glad to hear you don't have cavities! Due to the omission of grains and sugars in your diet (as well as the decreased frequency of consuming food), you probably won't have another cavity in your life (theoretically speaking). I have found a decreased rate of plaque buildup on my own teeth since going Paleo, and I find that I rarely pull out very much when flossing (maybe a stray fiber of chicken or chard). With regular yearly dental cleanings, you should be able to sustain your teeth in a healthy state for a long time!
I am a dentist (boo! hiss!). Yes, I think that if everyone went on a Paleo lifestyle I'd be out of a job for the most part. I haven't yet told a patient to go Paleo to save their teeth yet, mostly because I think they'd view me with even more suspicion than they do now.
I switched to SonicCare electric brushes 3-4 years ago (before Paleo). My check ups improved 100%. VERY little bleeding. I floss at least once a day, sometimes two. Really "hook" 4-6 times in between teeth!
Check out Dr. Weston A Price, the dentist from 100 years ago and his issues with "modern" foods - sugars and grains. Insightful. Now it's the Weston Price Foundation stuff.
Give that hygenist an earful next time!! Good luck!
It sounds like you really needed that cleaning. You may not have cavities, but it sounds like you have gingivitis.
Whenever I have a "pocket of inflammation" by a tooth, in my gums, my dental hygienist (I have a regular one who does my cleanings) warms me she wants to clean it out and it hurts like how you describe.
I would definitely leave your gums alone for a few days to heal, then start flossing on a regular basis. I always floss twice or even three times and I still get food particles out on the third try!
Also, I use one of those Oral-B electric toothbrushes and my teeth get sooo much cleaner!
Now that your teeth are clean I would add a K-2 supplement to your diet to keep the plaque down, and start doing oil pulling to keep your gums healthy and make any plaque that shows up soft enough to brush or floss away without much work.
I second the suggestions to get an electric toothbrush. They really are superior to the manual kind. However, I'll also say that some hygienists have much worse technique than others. I've gone to some that are butchers and have destroyed my gums for weeks, to the point that I couldn't chew at all. Maybe the substitute you saw just wasn't that good?
I am a third year dental student, studying to receive my Doctorate of Dental Surgery. What you described sounds like gingivitis or the beginning of periodontal disease. My recommendation is to improve your oral health by brushing twice daily, and flossing once daily. If you can't brush or floss after eating, swish your mouth real well with water. And the proper way to floss is to see-saw the floss back and forth to gently pull it down to your gingiva. Make sure to scrape the mesial and distal of each tooth with the floss. Obviously I don't have to talk to you about keeping your frequency and duration of oral carbohydrate exposure low. As that is something I must discuss with most my patients. Good luck, let me know if this helps!
Sonicare. GET ONE. Love mine.
Also if your gums are that inflamed then you (very likely) have a high level of generalized inflammation. Many people do. Good news is that there's a lot to do for that.
I recommend you consider getting your Cardiac CRP level checked as this is a great marker for following inflammation - baseline and improvements.
Also, look into Ubiquinol. I take a ton for my Hashimotos but I know people who have been helped greatly when they took it for gum disease or swollen gums.
I didn't see a dentist for about 10 years while my husband was in the Marine Corps. We were too poor for me to afford to pay out of pocket and none of the area dentist offices accepted the military dental plan (this was about 15 years ago). Needless to say that by the time I did get to a dentist, my mouth was a mess. We also ate terrible food so I'm sure that was part of the problem. I had some pockets that were 6, my gums bled every time I brushed. So I have periodontal disease but after a few years of quarterly cleanings and some antibiotic strips inserted into the worst of the inflamed pockets, it's pretty much under control. I use the Sonicare toothbrush also and I floss once or twice a day and I see the dentist every 3 months instead of every 6. My gums don't bleed anymore and my worst pockets are down to 3-4's.
Next time you go, gargle/swish with saltwater a few days before and after the cleaning. I have done it for years, and it helps the inflammation to calm down, especially if you had a particularly "aggressive" cleaning!
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