When Should I Be Concerned with Bleeding Gums?
You notice the evidence of some blood in the sink after brushing your teeth and question the source. The source, bleeding gums, are quite common for a variety of reason. Many adults will experience bleeding gums during their lifetime.
Although a small amount of blood does not seem like anything to fret about, if the bleeding is consistent then it is a warning of a more serious dental problem, and you should schedule an evaluation with your dentist.
Several Common Causes for Bleeding Gums
Bleeding gums can be the result of a few simple things. Some of the most common reasons that your gums may be bleeding might be:
- Improper brushing technique- Many people brush their teeth way too aggressively, believing it is the best way to clean them. Your gums are extremely sensitive and brushing them too hard will irritate the soft tissue and cause bleeding. Brushing in a circular motion, for two minutes each time, is advised to avoid gum damage and gum recession.
- Using the wrong toothbrush- People choose toothbrushes with firm or stiff bristles thinking that more abrasiveness will improve the cleaning ability. This approach is more likely to both damage the enamel on your teeth and irritate the gums. It is strongly suggested to use soft or medium bristles.
- Incorrect flossing technique- Flossing takes patience and using the wrong technique can cut the gums and cause recession. You should floss gently, following the curve of each tooth.
- Gum disease- Gum disease the primary cause of bleeding gums. It is a progressive infection that requires professional intervention and treatment from your dentist to stop it from advancing. Currently over half of American adults over the age of thirty have some stage of gum disease. Since the symptoms are so mild in the initial stages, it is often overlooked until the disease progresses and has done more damage. In the initial stage, it is called gingivitis and the symptoms are bad breath and bleeding gums.
When left untreated it progresses into a condition called periodontitis which results in serious problems that affect your dental and overall health. This can include diabetes, abscesses, jawbone damage, tooth loss, and cardiovascular disease.
When Should You See Your Dentist?
If you notice blood when you brush your teeth several times over a few weeks, then you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist. This is also the case if you have bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth.
Your dentist will give your mouth a thorough examination to check the health of your teeth and gums. If there is evidence of gum disease, they will perform a professional teeth cleaning which will remove any bacteria carrying plaque.
If your gum disease had advanced into another stage, it is quite possible you will need further dental treatment to stop the progression.
If your gums are bleeding during brushing, or swollen or a deeper color, or if you have any other concerns about gum disease, simply contact your dentist for an evaluation, a skilled professional cleaning, and to develop and promote a proper daily oral hygiene program at home.