Patients often visit the general dentist office with a diagnosis or treatment already in mind thanks to online research. But while there is a lot of valuable information online, there are an equal number of myths about dental health. Gum health seems to be one of the most misunderstood areas of oral hygiene and treatment or diagnosis myths can prevent you from getting the treatment you actually need.

Here are two common gum health myths-- and the truth behind the stories.

Myth 1: It's Normal for Gums to Bleed a Bit

There are two prevailing myths about bleeding gums: one is that it's normal for the gums to be red right around the tooth while the other is that it's normal to have a bit of bleeding when you brush. Bleeding or overly red gums are not normal nor a good sign.

On the positive side, the redness and blood can be caused by simply using too much pressure while brushing or flossing your teeth. The bristles on the brush or the wire of the floss can irritate or cut into the sensitive soft tissue that makes up the gums. Try switching to a softer toothbrush and using a softer hand for a week and see if your gums look healthier.

Red or bleeding gums can also represent a periodontal disease such as gingivitis. A quick visit to the general dentist for a thorough cleaning can eliminate any plaque or tartar buildups causing the gingivitis. But if you leave the infection alone for an extended period of time it can cause irreparable damage to your gums, jawbone, or teeth.

Myth 2: You Can Regrow Receding Gums

Genetics, improper oral healthcare, or trauma can cause your gums to start receding down your teeth. This results in your teeth looking longer than normal and can eventually leave your sensitive teeth roots exposed.

Various online holistic medicine sites offer at-home cures that are said to regrow your gums naturally. Unfortunately, there is no way to regenerate gum tissue once it's lost. You can use better oral healthcare techniques to try and slow down the loss. But the only way you can truly get the look of your gums back is to undergo a gum graft.

For a gum graft, the dentist will remove some soft tissue from the roof or floor of your mouth and use that to patch up the receding areas of gum. Once the gums heal, the new and old tissue will create a uniformed look that's as natural looking as your original gums. Contact a local dentist, like Simmons Craig A D D S, to get your questions answered.