Bleeding Gums and Oral Health

bleeding gums

Bleeding gums are the most common symptom of gum disease. But it can also point to other health problems. Gum bleeding is common and is typically not serious. A person may notice some blood after brushing their teeth or flossing, which can irritate sensitive gums.

Common Reasons

You noticed a little pink in the sink after brushing your teeth. Or maybe you noticed blood in your mouth after flossing. What caused your bleeding gums? And is it serious? Gums bleed for many reasons. Some reasons, like gum disease, are serious and warrant a call to your dentist sooner rather than later. Other causes of bleeding gums are less serious. In some cases, you can stop bleeding gums with simple changes to your daily brushing and flossing routine.

Besides serious gum disease, here are ten other reasons gums bleed and how to stop bleeding gums before the problem becomes a bigger issue.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Symptoms include tender and swollen gums, and in some cases bleeding gums during brushing and floss.

Gingivitis happens when plaque along your gum line isn’t properly removed. This sticky plaque breeds all sorts of nasty bacteria that infect the gums, causing bleeding and sensitivity. At this early stage, gingivitis can be stopped and reversed before it turns to more serious gum disease.

Prevent or stop bleeding gums caused by gingivitis with proper oral care. Brush and floss regularly and stay on top of your routine dental check-ups.

Medications

Another possible cause of bleeding gums is blood-thinning medication. Blood-thinning medications decrease the blood’s ability to clot, leading to easier bleeding, including at the gum line. Every time you visit your dentist, let her know about any new medications. This helps the dentist identify the cause of bleeding gums and other oral problems.

Your dentist might recommend a different oral care routine to help minimize or stop gum bleeding caused by medication.

New Flossing Routine

If your gums bleed after flossing, when they’ve never bled before, the flossing itself could be the cause. If you took a few days off from flossing or increased the rate per week at which you floss, you might notice minor gum bleeding. This gum bleeding should stop on its own after a couple of flossing sessions. If your gums bleed frequently, or every time you floss, visit your dentist.

New Toothbrush

A new type of toothbrush can also cause gum bleeding. If you switch from soft bristles too hard bristles, bleeding is sometimes your gums’ way of telling you to take it down a notch. Most dentists recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush, specifically because it is easier on gums. So, if your gums bleed from a hard-bristled toothbrush, heed the warning. After switching back to soft bristles, bleeding along the gumline should stop within a few brushing sessions.

Pregnancy Gingivitis

Yep, it’s a thing. Increased hormones during pregnancy cause increased blood flow to your gums, making them extra sensitive to plaque and bacteria. This in turn often leads to tender gums and gum bleeding during brushing. Pregnancy gingivitis, and any associated gum bleeding, usually stops shortly after pregnancy.

Poor Oral Hygiene Habits

You might be surprised to learn that even a temporary lapse in otherwise stellar oral hygiene sometimes causes bleeding gums. Research shows healthy gums can become bleeding and diseased gums with just one day off proper oral care. Yikes!

Prevent or stop bleeding gums with daily hygiene habits. Brush for two minutes, twice a day and floss daily to keep plaque at bay and prevent swollen bleeding gums.

Poor Diet

Some ingredients in processed foods irritate gums and cause minor gum bleeding. Opt for healthier alternatives instead. Fruits and veggies, along with calcium, vitamins C and D, and magnesium are critical components of oral health. Make sure you get your daily recommended allowances of these nutrients

Stress

Living in a constant state of agitation and anxiety compromises your immune system, making it harder to ward off any number of issues, including bleeding gums and gum disease. Stress also causes inflammation in the blood vessels. This breaks down soft tissues in your mouth, further slowing the healing process for bleeding gums. Try reducing your stress levels whenever possible.

Misaligned Bite

If your teeth aren’t properly aligned you may develop “bite disease,” which is yet another possible cause. If your teeth are misaligned, the wrong type of pressure is applied to the wrong places when you bite down or grind your teeth.

These destructive forces affect your teeth, as well as the supporting tissue and bone. If you apply repeated pressure in one spot, the gums recede and the bone deteriorates, creating a prime spot for gum disease and bleeding gums. Talk to your dentist about solutions for an unbalanced bite.

Smoking or Vaping

It’s true. Both smoking and vaping increase your risk for oral health problems, including sensitive, diseased, and bleeding gums. Once gum bleeding starts, dangerous bacteria trapped between the teeth and the gum line can get into the bloodstream, causing further complications.

If you are worried about how smoking or vaping affects your oral health, talk to your dentist or doctor about alternatives or programs to help you quit.

Treatment

Good dental hygiene is the first step to managing bleeding gums.

Visit your dentist twice per year for professional cleaning. Your dentist will let you know if you have gingivitis and teach you how to brush your teeth properly. Proper brushing and flossing can remove plaque from your gum line and reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.

Your dentist may also show you how to use an antiseptic mouthwash to minimize plaque that forms in your mouth. And a rinse of warm salt water can help soothe swollen gums that bleed easily.

Use a soft toothbrush. It’ll be gentle on inflamed gums, especially if you experience bleeding after brushing your teeth. Medium and hard bristles may be too abrasive for your delicate gums.

You might also consider using an electric toothbrush. The specially designed brush heads on these toothbrushes can help you to clean your gum line more easily than a manual toothbrush.

Resources:

healthline.com

medicalnewstoday.com

deltadentalwa.com

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