Most people have noticed bleeding from their gums at some time. If you do see it, you’re probably not sure whether to worry about it or not. The simple answer is that this is not normal and should be taken seriously. If you’ve started a new brushing or flossing routine, bleeding may occur at first but, should it last more than a week, you should consult your dentist.
Why Are My Gums Bleeding?
Some reasons for bleeding gums are straightforward and can be rectified by simple adjustments to your oral care routine. These include:
- Poor brushing technique
- Your toothbrush is too hard
- You just started a flossing routine
The second group includes reasons that are serious enough to warrant a visit to your dentist and will get worse if left untreated. This group includes:
- Poorly fitting dentures
The final group of possible causes for bleeding gums includes more severe conditions that are more in the area of a medical doctor’s care. Your dentist will be able to eliminate the less serious causes and refer you for medical treatment if they suspect one of these reasons. This list includes:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hemophilia or von Willebrand disease
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Vitamin K deficiency
Other reasons may include hormonal changes during pregnancy or side effects from blood-thinning medications.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease and simply means inflammation of the gums. This is caused by a build-up of plaque at your gum line, causing your gums to become irritated, red and swollen and causing them to bleed during brushing. Taking good care of your teeth will usually sort out this problem. You can do this by regularly brushing and flossing, using an antibacterial mouthwash and regularly visiting your dentist.
What is Periodontitis?
If you don’t take care to treat gingivitis, it may lead to periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease. This long-term condition affects the tissue and bone around your teeth, leading to lasting damage that your dentist will need to repair.
If your gums are regularly bleeding easily when brushing your teeth or even when you’re eating, this may be a sign of periodontitis. You may get bad breath, loose teeth, a bad taste in your mouth or a change in how your teeth fit together when you bite down. Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. You should always consult your dentist if you suspect that you have periodontitis.
There are two main groups of actions to prevent your gums from bleeding due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. These fall into the categories of “home routine” and “dental visits.”
You must have heard the advice to brush your teeth at least twice each day. If you don’t do this already, you should start immediately. A soft-bristled toothbrush is best to avoid damaging your tooth enamel and causing gum recession. You should brush for roughly two minutes, using a circular motion and ensuring that you reach all parts of your mouth.
Once you have brushed and removed all superficial food debris, follow this up once a day with flossing. Again, make sure you reach all of your teeth and follow the curve of your teeth to avoid damaging your gums.
Even with regular brushing and flossing, plaque may still build up, possibly leading to gingivitis. So even if your gums show no signs of bleeding, you should still schedule an appointment with your dentist every six months. Your dentist can do a thorough examination and see any signs of plaque build-up, gingivitis or periodontal disease.
You can also have a dental hygienist perform regular cleanings, removing plaque build-up from under your gums and tartar from your tooth enamel. Bear in mind that your dental checkups don’t take the place of your own oral hygiene regime; they supplement it, and you should keep up with your regular brushing and flossing.
At Dr. Postol’s office, we have a dedicated team who will care for all your preventive dentistry needs. Contact us to schedule your regular appointment today.
Treatment for Bleeding Gums
If you have gingivitis, a simple clean by your dental hygienist should sort out the issues and stop your gums from bleeding. However, even if you have progressed to advanced stages of periodontal disease, there is still time to repair the damage. Dentists can use two techniques to treat and repair the damage. These are:
- Scaling—the removal of plaque from below the gumline
- Root planing—smoothing the tooth root, allowing the gum to re-attach
This type of deep cleaning may leave you with tooth pain for a day or two and sensitive teeth for about a week. Your dentist might prescribe a pill or mouth rinse to prevent infection and control pain. Your gums may also be a little swollen and feel tender or bleed.
After scaling and root planing, you should schedule another appointment a couple of weeks later so your dentist can check your progress. If pockets from periodontitis persist, another treatment may be required.
Get Quality Dental Care Today
As you can see, poor dental care and hygiene can lead to serious issues that affect your whole life. Nobody wants the bad breath that comes with gingivitis or the pain from eating that comes with periodontitis. A good oral hygiene program maintained at home and with your dentist can save you much pain and discomfort and prevent the worries caused by bleeding gums.
Dr. Kevin F. Postol has a dedicated team that will greet you with a warm and sincere welcome and places as much value on your oral health as you do. To find out more about why your gums might be bleeding or to make an appointment, contact us today.