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What To Do If Your Gums Bleed

Man looking at bleeding gums.

Bleeding gums might make you panic, or you may be tempted to ignore them entirely, but the truth is that gum bleeding is a common dental issue that many people experience at some point in their lives. And, while it is typically not considered a dental emergency, bleeding gums can indicate an underlying problem that requires attention.

Why Do Gums Bleed?

Before we dive into the solutions, let's understand why gums bleed in the first place.

Gingivitis and Gum Disease

 One of the most common reasons for bleeding is gum disease. In the beginning stages, gum disease is referred to as gingivitis. It is caused by the accumulation of plaque, which causes inflammation and eventually leads to bleeding of the gums.

Aggressive Brushing

When brushing your teeth, the goal is to scrub them clean. But brushing too vigorously or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage gum tissue, leading to bleeding. This may occur more frequently for those who have sensitive gums or who have early-stage gum disease.

Medical Conditions and Medications

Certain medical conditions like vitamin deficiencies, blood disorders, or hormonal changes (especially during pregnancy) can make your gums more susceptible to bleeding. Similarly, there are certain types of medications, such as blood thinners, that can increase the likelihood of gum bleeding.

Treating and Preventing Bleeding Gums

Now that we looked at some of the root causes of gum bleeding, here are some practical steps you can take if you see this is happening to you.

Gentle Brushing

Whether or not you see blood when you brush or floss, make sure to always use a soft-bristled toothbrush as well as gentle, circular motions to clean your teeth. Avoid brushing too aggressively and using hard or even medium-bristled brushes, as they can irritate your gums and potentially even damage tooth enamel, leading to decay or tooth sensitivity.

Floss Regularly

It may seem counterintuitive because many people find their gums bleed while flossing, but flossing is essential to good oral hygiene and healthy gums. Flossing helps to better remove plaque and debris between your teeth and along the gumline.

Make sure to take your time while flossing so as not to inadvertently irritate gums. Like brushing, make sure to be gentle. You may want to consider different types of floss, such as floss picks or a water flosser, to see which works best for you.

Rinse with an Antiseptic Mouthwash

Mouthwash can potentially help to reduce bacteria in your mouth and promote gum health. Look for a product with fluoride for added protection.

Eat and Drink for Gum Health

A diet that includes lots of vitamin and mineral-rich foods (especially vitamin C) can contribute to healthy gums. Incorporate plenty of healthy produce into your meals. In addition, drinking enough water keeps your mouth moist and helps flush away food particles and bacteria. Avoid excessive sugar in food and drinks as it can contribute to oral health problems.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is a significant factor contributing to gum disease and inflammation. Quitting can drastically improve your gum health. This goes for all forms of tobacco and oral nicotine use (yes, that means vaping, too).

Schedule Dental Check-ups

Even if you rarely or never notice gum bleeding, don't skip your dental appointments. Regular visits with your dentist can help catch and address gum problems in their early stages.

If you do notice that your gums are bleeding on occasion, it is time to schedule a dental appointment. While very mild gum bleeding may result after improving oral hygiene, if there is any chance it is a sign of gum disease, you want to see your dentist right away. Early gum disease is easily managed; however, more severe gum disease is irreversible. So call our office today so we can help ensure your gums stay healthy and free of bleeding.


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