Although bleeding gums is a common occurrence, it can still be alarming to some and justifiably so. Bleeding while brushing and flossing is a sign of gingivitis – inflammation of your gums caused by the bacteria in plaque that can build up under the gum line. This is not uncommon but if left alone, this inflammation can turn into an infection of the gums and may lead to periodontitis, or gum disease. Periodontitis can cause long-term damage of the supporting tissues and may eventually lead to loss of teeth. If your gums are puffy and red and you’re seeing blood, you should make an appointment with your dentist because once the plaque has hardened, you will need to have it removed by your dentist or hygienist. If you have or have had signs of gum disease, your dentist or hygienist will likely recommend a strict home care routine and more frequent visits for cleanings and may talk with you about laser treatment.
Gum disease is something that not enough people take seriously, as our oral health often takes the back burner to a number of life’s issues but there are factors other than poor oral hygiene that may be contributing to your bleeding gums. If you visit your dentist as recommended and you are pretty well on top of your home care but your gums are still bleeding, you are probably wondering what could be the cause. The truth is that there are many things that could be contributing.
Certain medications, especially those with blood thinning properties could be to blame. This includes over the counter medication like aspirin and ibuprofen, which is damaging to your body in several other ways, as well. If you wear an oral appliance like a retainer or nightguard, it may need an adjustment. Ill-fitting appliances or dentures will rub on your gums and cause them to become irritated. Your dentist can make the proper adjustments to the appliance to keep it comfortable for you. It is no secret that pregnancy can cause heightened sensitivity and your gum tissue is not exempt. Hormonal changes can cause your gums to become irritated easily and you may start to notice bleeding. Did you know your diet could be the culprit? If you are lacking sufficient vitamin C or vitamin K, this could be a reason for your gums to easily bleed. Eating foods that are rich in these vitamins like broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce, soybeans, potatoes, mustard greens and spinach can help to avoid a deficiency.
Bleeding gums can also come with some other medical conditions. The bacteria in plaque feed off sugar so naturally, if you have high blood sugar from diabetes you may find that you need to take extra care to keep your gums healthy.
In conclusion, if you notice blood while brushing, flossing, eating or at any other time without any obvious cause, you should start by making an appointment with your dentist to get to the bottom of it. One thing to remember is that brushing harder is not better. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and floss with proper technique (if you’re not sure what proper technique is, do not be afraid to ask!) and follow the recommendation of your oral health professional to keep you on track.