Are your gums bleeding every time you brush your teeth or floss? Ideally they should not bleed so easily. It is important to find out the real reason why your gums are bleeding. The cause may be an easily preventable one or something more serious such as an underlying health condition. It is also a sign of poor oral health.
What are the causes of bleeding gums?
Here are some of the most common reasons behind bleeding gums.
Improper brushing technique
If you are using an inappropriate technique for brushing your teeth or brushing too hard, then your gums can bleed although they are in perfect health. There is a misconception among many people that the harder they brush the cleaner their teeth will be. But that is absolutely wrong. You need to hold the brush at an angle to your teeth, go back and forth, starting at the gum and tooth interface, with gentle but firm pressure. Brushing should have optimal pressure to remove plaque, food particles and bacteria from your teeth and gum line. If your toothbrush bristles get frayed within three months of use, it’s a hint that you are brushing too hard. Also, using a hard-bristled toothbrush is another reason for bleeding from gums.
So use pressure that is just enough to remove plaque with a soft-bristled toothbrush and watch if the bleeding stops.
Simply put gingivitis is inflammation of the gingiva or gums. If plaque is inadequately removed and left to accumulate around the gums, the toxins formed by bacteria present in it start to irritate the gums. Eventually, this plaque hardens and forms tartar (calculus) and gums start to get inflamed. This gum inflammation is called gingivitis.
Such gums bleed easily. Besides bleeding, gums also appear red and puffy. It can progress to a more serious condition called periodontitis where the underlying bone is also affected and can lead to tooth loss. Hence gingivitis should be treated immediately while it is easily reversible and so that it does not progress to a more destructive disease. Even a few days of a lapse in oral hygiene can make your gums to bleed.
Good oral hygiene regimen which includes proper brushing twice a day, followed by flossing and use of an antiseptic mouth wash along with with professional dental cleaning every six months is the treatment.
The use of blood-thinning medications prescribed to patients with cardiac problems reduces the ability of the blood to clot and so the gums bleed easily.
Certain medication can cause your gums to swell and overgrow which makes removing plaque around the gum line difficult leading to their bleeding. Such medicines include phenytoin, a medicine used to treat seizures, cyclosporine – an immunosuppressant and medicines used to treat high blood pressure like nifedipine, verapamil, diltiazem, and amlodipine.
Talk to your doctor and see if you can change the medicine if it is causing too much gum bleeding. You can also talk to your dentist who can recommend an oral hygiene regimen suited to your needs. So it’s important to inform your dentist about all the medications you are taking as they can have an impact on your oral health.
Ideally, you should floss every day to remove plaque and food particles stuck in-between your teeth. But if you are flossing for the first time or after a few days of break your gums are likely to bleed. Since they are inflamed due to the accumulated plaque a mild touch by the floss is very likely to make them bleed. As you keep up the routine the bleeding will subside. You should not give up flossing due to bleeding since it helps to get rid of gingivitis and restore your gum and teeth health.
Hormonal changes are a part of being pregnant. So if you are pregnant these hormones will make your gums more sensitive to plaque-causing them to bleed easily. Plus a lot of women suffer from morning sickness, especially during the first trimester. During this period the feel of toothbrush and taste of toothpaste can make them feel nauseous, so they make brushing a quick process or avoid it. All of these factors can lead to pregnancy gingivitis. But it will subside soon after childbirth once you are able to keep up with good oral hygiene.
A high level of constant stress can make your entire body go for a toss. Constant anxiety and worry can compromise your immune system causing inflammation in the blood vessels. One of the manifestations of stress can include bleeding gums.
Issues with the bite
The teeth in the upper and the lower jaw need to meet in such a way that they are in harmony with each other. Issues with the bite due to crooked teeth or parafunctional habits like teeth grinding also called bruxism can cause excessive pressure on teeth as well as the supporting bone and soft tissues. Such damaging forces can cause bone loss, loose teeth as well as bleeding gums.
Smoking or Vaping
Both smoking and vaping can cause a host of oral health problems. Gum disease, which includes bleeding gums, is one of the most common problems associated with these habits.
Bleeding gums can also be signs of certain more serious health conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, cancers like leukemia, thrombocytopenia in which there are not enough platelets to form a clot, hemophilia which is a clotting disorder and deficiency of vitamin C or vitamin K.
How can you treat bleeding gums at home?
Follow a good oral hygiene routine which includes brushing twice a day, flossing at least once followed by using an antiseptic mouthwash. You can make use of other helpers like a proxy brush or water pick. Always use a soft-bristled brush, with gentle pressure. Follow a healthy balanced diet and limit the frequency of snacking between meals. Avoid sugary food and drinks.
Visit your dentist
If bleeding does not stop after a few days of proper home treatment, its best to consult your dentist, as there might be some other underlying cause. Regular checkup and professional cleaning is the best way to keep your gums and teeth healthy. At Signature Smiles, highly trained and certified periodontists or gum experts diagnose and treat all types of gum problems. Being a modern clinic, lasers are used for various gum treatments including gum disease therapy, gum surgery, and gum depigmentation. So schedule an appointment today for all your oral health needs.