Should you be concerned about bleeding gums?
Have you noticed blood in your spit when you brush or floss your teeth? If so, you should know that bleeding gums could be a sign of gum disease or other health problems. Here’s a look at why gums bleed and what you can do about it.
Gums can bleed for a number of reasons, some more severe than others. Here are some common causes:
- Aggressive cleaning. Brushing too vigorously can cause gums to bleed. Similarly, aggressive flossing can cut or bruise delicate gum tissue. It’s normal for gums to bleed when you first start flossing, but the bleeding should subside after a few days.
- Dental appliances. Your gums may bleed if you wear a denture or orthodontic retainer. This is likely a sign that your dental appliance is too tight and needs to be adjusted.
- Gingivitis. Plaque is a film of bacteria that builds up around the gumline and causes irritation. The longer plaque lingers on your teeth, the more likely it is that your gums will bleed. If this film isn’t removed regularly by brushing, it hardens into tartar and causes gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums.
- Periodontitis. If gingivitis isn’t treated, it can develop into a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. When this occurs, the gums pull away from the teeth and plaque forms below the gum line. The infection can spread into the jawbone and surrounding tissues that connect the teeth and gums. In addition to bleeding gums, periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen and fall out.
- Medical conditions. Leukemia and bleeding disorders can increase the risk for bleeding gums. Your gums are also more likely to bleed if you’re taking blood-thinning medications.
- Vitamin deficiencies. A vitamin C deficiency can weaken and inflame gum tissue. A lack of vitamin K can also provoke gum bleeding since this nutrient helps with blood clotting.
- Pregnancy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make gums more sensitive and susceptible to bleeding.
Consistent bleeding of the gums, regardless of the cause, should never be ignored.
Since plaque buildup is the most common reason that gums bleed, adopting a proper oral hygiene routine is an important step. Brush your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss every day. Be thorough but gentle when you clean your teeth to avoid irritating your gums.
In addition, rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater can help soothe swollen gums. However, this isn’t a long-term solution.
If your gums bleed on a regular basis, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Additionally, you should have your teeth cleaned by a dental professional every six months to remove tartar and watch for early signs of gum disease.
Visit a dental clinic in South West Edmonton
Heritage Dental Centre offers general, emergency and family dentistry services to clients in South West Edmonton and the surrounding neighbourhoods. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.