When someone notices bleeding gums during brushing and flossing, it can be cause for concern. Not all reasons for bleeding gums require dental treatments, but it’s a good idea to visit the dentist for an evaluation that can find the cause and address it as necessary. One of the top reasons for bleeding gums is gum disease, which is why this symptom should never be ignored.
Causes of bleeding gums
Although gum disease is a common cause for bleeding gums, it’s not the only cause. Other causes of bleeding, tender gums include:
If someone brushes too vigorously and uses too hard a toothbrush, this can lead to sensitive, bleeding and swollen gums. It’s always best to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and to use gentle circular motions to clean the teeth and massage the gums. For those who use an electric toothbrush, it’s important not to press the brush head too hard into the teeth and gums, which can lead to irritated gums that can bleed and may eventually recede.
Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene because it removes plaque where a toothbrush can’t reach, but flossing wrong can cause irritation and bleeding. Instead of forcing floss between teeth, sliding it gently up and down and following the curve of each tooth is the best technique.
Gum disease and bleeding gums
Research indicates that a majority of people suffer from gingivitis, which is one of the early stages of gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss so it’s important to discover and treat it quickly before it can progress into periodontitis that can lead to tooth loss. Bleeding gums can be an early indication of gum disease and often happens when a person doesn’t have good oral hygiene. Without good oral hygiene practices, bacteria build up in the mouth, forms plaque on the teeth and can irritate and inflame gums to the point where they’re swollen, red and bleeding. Catching gum disease early makes it possible to reverse it with proper oral hygiene, but without treatment, gingivitis grows worse. Even without any discomfort, a person experiencing any of the following symptoms should consult a dental professional promptly.
- Bleeding gums during or after brushing teeth
- Bad taste in the mouth or bad breath consistently
- Gum recession
- Swollen, tender and red gums
- Deep gum pockets between teeth and gums
- Shifting or loose teeth
- Change in bite or fit of partial dentures
If allowed to progress, gingivitis develops into periodontitis where the bones and gums holding teeth in place become unhealthy and compromised. Bacteria on the teeth release toxins that damage gums, cause infection and inflammation and degrade bone and gums. This can cause bleeding and swelling and eventually lead to tooth loss.
Preventing bleeding gums
The best way to prevent bleeding gums is by practicing good oral hygiene, which includes brushing twice daily and flossing at least once using the correct techniques. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is great for overall and oral health, especially when it includes proper amounts of calcium and Vitamin C for healthy teeth and gums. Drinking water during the day and after meals helps wash food off teeth and reduces bacteria formation. Avoiding or quitting tobacco use promotes better health in the body and mouth as tobacco inhibits the immune system and can lead to dry mouth. Stress can raise hormone levels that can lead to inflammation in the gums and rest of the body, so it’s important to find ways to relax and de-stress.
If you’re experiencing bleeding, tender or swollen gums, contact Dupont Dental immediately to set up an exam that can find the underlying cause and determine the best treatment.