Are Bleeding Gums Serious?
Bleeding gums are quite common and are often considered not serious. You may see evidence of some blood after brushing or flossing your teeth, which will irritate sensitive gums. The most frequent reason for bleeding gums is because of the buildup of plaque or tartar. These substances contain bacteria which will grow along the gum line, which then infects the gums. By exercising good oral hygiene at home and complimenting your efforts with checkups at your dentist every six months, can easily prevent bleeding gums. If the issue is not addressed bleeding gums can become serious.
Common Causes of Bleeding Gums
There are variety of reasons that can cause bleeding gums, including having gum disease, which needs immediate attention from your dentist. Common causes of bleeding gums include:
- Not brushing your teeth consistently, or at least twice a day.
- Using a toothbrush too aggressively with bristles that are too stiff or hard.
- Using a worn-out toothbrush that is longer effective when brushing.
- Being too aggressive with dental floss, instead of gently pushing it and hugging the sides of each tooth.
- Certain medicines can cause bleeding gums, such as aspirin, blood thinners, or ibuprofen.
- Most importantly, having gingivitis, or the beginning stage of gum disease.
When It Is Important to Visit Your Dentist
You should make an appointment to see your dentist if you can see changes in your gums, teeth, or mouth.
A fever, discomfort, swelling, redness, pain, or bleeding of the gums is not normal. If the problem persists and does not go away by exercising good oral hygiene habits, your dentist will exam your gums for early-stage gum disease or even other issues.
A pending pregnancy, or vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin C or K, and even certain medical conditions can contribute to bleeding gums. It is best to simply see your dentist if the bleeding does not go away after trying to treat the bleeding on your own. You can try these different steps at-home, using the correct toothbrush, flossing properly, by using ice, a mouthwash, a warm saltwater rinse, avoiding processed and sugary foods, and avoiding smoking.
Consistent dental exams can reverse minor, early-stage gum disease from developing into something more serious. Untreated gum disease will lead to more infection and eventually tooth loss. Your dentist can also monitor the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth and identify larger problems, such as the beginning of oral cancer.
Preventing Bleeding Gums in The Long Term
The best way to avoid bleeding gums is to lead a healthy lifestyle which will prevent the gum disease that most often cause bleeding gums.
You can continue to avoid and even prevent bleeding gums by:
- Exercising consistent at home oral health care, including brushing well twice a day and flossing at least once a day.
- Visiting your dentist every six months for an exam.
- Just replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months.
- At your six-month exams have regular professional cleaning to remove all plaque and tartar.
- Eating a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables and limiting the processed foods and any added sugars.
- Avoiding smoking or work with a doctor to find a way to stop smoking.
- Visiting your doctor regularly to monitor any other health problems that could contribute to gum problems, such as diabetes.