Perhaps you were flossing your teeth or you were brushing your gums a little harder than usual and noticed some bleeding. Well, sometimes your gums may bleed if you go too rough with your at-home cleaning regimen.
If you notice that your gums are red, swollen, irritated, and even bleeding, nearly every time you brush or floss, it is time to see your dentist for a check-up.
Bleeding gums are nothing to be afraid of when you have a dentist who can put you onto the path of good oral health. Remember to get professional help if you notice any early stages of any dental issue, like bleeding gums. This way you can prevent future health problems and keep your healthy smile for life.
My gums are bleeding. Do I have gingivitis?
There are different reasons that might cause your gums to bleed. The common cause is that you might have gingivitis. However, other temporary changes in your routine might cause your gums to be more sensitive to bleeding as well.
For example, certain medications might cause blood thinning which leads to easier bleeding. If you are under a certain medication, please consult with a dentist or periodontist to fully examine your situation.
Bleeding gums are often a sign of gingivitis, or an inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. This is due to the existence of plaque on your teeth at the gumline due to poor teeth cleaning. The initial proper care to improve this situation is with better dental regime.
However, it is wise to schedule an appointment with your dentist if you find the bleeding has not stopped after a thorough cleaning.
Pregnancy gingivitis is another possible reason that causes your gums to bleed. Pregnant women are more prone to experience swollen gums and bleeding during brushing. This is due to hormonal changes during pregnancy that alter the body’s response to certain bacteria.
There is more localized swelling and a stronger response to the bacteria that are present in your mouth. It is not normal to have heavy bleeding in your gums during pregnancy. This is an indication of high bacterial counts. If you are having more bleeding, you may want to visit the dentist every 3 months for cleanings while you’re pregnant. The bacteria in your mouth can spread through the bloodstream and can affect the fetus.
If you suspect that you have gingivitis, here are the common signs:
- Gums that are red, swollen, and tender
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Receding gums
- Pockets forming between teeth that trap food and plaque
- Bad breath
- A bad taste in your mouth
If you have one or a combination of these signs, you might be suffering from gingivitis. In that case, you should get the help of your dentist to stop its advancement.
It is important to stop gum disease before it starts because there are many adverse effects that stem from bleeding gums.
What are the consequences of having gingivitis?
Untreated gingivitis can lead to gum disease, which is when plaque starts to grow below the gum line. When you don’t address gingivitis in its early stages, you can develop chronic periodontitis. Once it leads to that, your gum line may begin to recede and dental pockets may develop beneath your gums. Another uncomfortable side effect is that you may develop bad breath or tooth loss.
Aggressive periodontitis is another direction gingivitis can take, which can more dramatically affect your teeth, gums, and jaw. If it leads to this, patients often will need surgery. Your teeth may feel loose because your jaw and tissue that hold them will deteriorate. You would want to take proper preventative measures because corrective surgery can be expensive, invasive, and time-intensive.
Another consequence of not treating bleeding gums is the threat of further health risks. Not only can periodontal diseases lead to bad breath, but it may contribute to other life-threatening systemic conditions.
Research has found that gum disease is linked to an increased risk of pancreatic, kidney, and blood cancer. Patients with type 2 diabetes are also at a higher risk than other patients. Do not underestimate your bleeding gums and book an appointment with your dentist immediately.
How can I prevent gingivitis or bleeding gums?
1. Be Disciplined with Your Oral Care
The best prevention is found in routine and diligent home care. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, followed by rinsing with a mouthwash are all vital steps you must do consistently to give your gums the best chance at staying healthy.
2. See Your Dentist
Regular professional cleanings will also keep harmful bacteria and plaque away from your gums. You should also make it to all your regularly scheduled cleanings with your dentist.
There are some stains and residue (like plaque) that only a dental hygienist can help you with and that home care cannot fully resolve.
3. Maintain a Healthy Diet
You can also take care of your body by eating good foods (think nature’s toothbrushes) and avoiding all forms of tobacco. Try to limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods. Sugar can damage your enamel and cause bacteria growth.
If you do consume these foods, rinse your mouth out with water until you have a chance to properly brush your teeth.
If your gums are bleeding, don’t wait.
If brushing your teeth causes your gums to bleed or if any oral care regimen causes enough bleeding to give you concern, please schedule an appointment with a dentist today. One ounce of prevention can protect you from a future of expensive surgery or more grave health consequences that come from untreated gum disease.
Before your oral health takes a direction that only surgery can fix, let us give you a thorough consultation. As with any health situation, even if your concern may amount to nothing, it is always better to lean on the side of caution and see your medical care provider. You know your body and what is normal for you.
So if anything ever strikes you as odd, please get a professional’s insight. It is far better to walk out of your dentist’s office with peace of mind than to wonder if you have gum disease. Bleeding gums are a signal that something is not right and you should not ignore this sign because it is not painful or because you think it is “normal”.