If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you might not think much of it. But even though a little pink-tinged toothpaste in the sink twice a day may seem inconsequential, it could be a sign of a big problem.
Healthy gums aren’t supposed to bleed, even a little, and especially not every day. There could be a number of different reasons why your gums are bleeding, from incorrect hygiene habits to chronic health conditions. Here are a few of the most common causes of bleeding gums.
1. You’re brushing and/or flossing too hard
Daily flossing and twice-daily brushing is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth. But using too much force when cleaning your teeth and gums can damage your gums, causing the gumline to erode. Signs of receding gums include soreness and bleeding, and left untreated, they can eventually lead to tooth loss.
Solution: The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. And when brushing and flossing, remember to apply gentle pressure, and go easy on your gums to prevent damage.
2. You have gum disease
A telltale sign of periodontal disease are gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss. In its early stages, gum disease takes the form of gingivitis, causing redness, swelling, and irritation where your gums meet the base of your teeth. Gingivitis can progress to a more serious gum disease known as periodontitis, which infects the deeper layer of soft tissue and can cause damage to your teeth and bones.
Solution: After a comprehensive oral exam, your dentist will recommend the right course of action to treat your gum disease. Depending on the severity and location of the infection, you may need professional cleaning, scaling and root planing, or surgical treatments. Most gum disease results from poor oral hygiene habits, so be you’re sticking to a regular recommended brushing and flossing routine, too.
3. You have an abscessed tooth
When a cavity or crack in your tooth goes untreated, harmful bacteria can enter the crevices and infect the dental pulp, an area of your tooth containing blood vessels and nerves. An infection at this depth can cause the tooth root to swell, creating tender, inflamed gums. Brushing and flossing along the area can not only incite bleeding, but it may be very painful as well.
Solution: To treat an abscessed tooth, your dentist may drain the area or perform a root canal to heal the infection while saving the tooth. In severe cases, though, the tooth itself must be extracted to completely eliminate the infection.
4. Your dentures or partials don’t fit properly
Dentures should feel comfortable and allow you to eat, speak, and smile with ease. But over time, as you experience bone loss in your jaw, your mouth will change shape, causing your once-comfortable dentures to become ill-fitting. Ill-fitting dentures can irritate your gums, causing pain, discomfort, and bleeding, and ignoring these symptoms can lead to long-term health issues, such as mouth ulcers or infections.
Solution: To prevent continued bone loss in your jaw, consider dental implants. Since dental implants mimic the structure of a natural tooth root, your jawbone gets the stimulation needed to maintain its density. And unlike dentures, dental implants prevent receding gumlines, keeping your gum tissues healthy and supporting your existing natural teeth.
5. You have an underlying health condition
Sometimes, bleeding gums can be caused by something other than your oral health or hygiene. For example, if you’re on a blood thinner, such as heparin or warfarin, you may bleed more easily when you brush your teeth. Pregnant women can also experience bleeding gums due to hormonal changes that contribute to inflammation, and occasionally, pregnancy-related gingivitis. Additionally, certain vitamin deficiencies can cause weakened gum tissue and impede your body’s ability to heal.
Solution: Ensure you’re eating a healthy diet, with plenty of Vitamin C. And if you’re concerned that an underlying medical condition may be causing your gums to bleed, make an appointment with your doctor for a full physical exam.
San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry can treat your bleeding gums
Whatever the cause of your bleeding gums, San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry can help you find the solution. Dr. Kwok is committed to understanding your periodontal problems, devising appropriate treatment plans, and providing the best service possible in a safe, comfortable, and professional environment.
Call us at (619) 543-0905 and let us help you develop a plan for long-term periodontal health.