Experiencing bleeding gums is definitely an unpleasant experience. Although it is a decidedly unwanted development, the good news is that this condition is a common one that many people go through at some point in their lives. In other words, this is a known condition that dentists and medical professionals know how to treat. If you should experience gums that bleed, the first step is attempting to understand the cause of your problem so that the appropriate treatment can be found.
A few common causes of bleeding gums are:
- Overly vigorous brushing or flossing
- The use of certain medications
Let's take a look at each of these common causes to help you determine the cause of your bleeding gums.
Brushing or Flossing Too Hard
Your gums can take a beating if you are brushing or flossing too hard. You could also be using a tooth brush with hard bristles. Some people mistakenly believe that brushing harder leads to cleaner teeth. Although brushing your teeth is extremely important, it is possible to overdo it.
Examine your toothbrush. Brush it along your fingers to get a feel for the stiffness of the bristles. The toothbrush that you hold in your hand will come into contact with both your strong teeth and the soft tissues surrounding them, which can be easily damaged by a hard-bristle toothbrush.
In this situation, at-home treatment would consist of using less pressure when brushing your teeth. Or you could buy a toothbrush with softer bristles. Try one, or both, of these methods to see if your bleeding stops.
Some types of medications are known to thin the blood, which can cause you to bleed more readily. Even some popular over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can act as blood thinners. If your bleeding gums began around the same time that you started taking a new type of medication, you should consider that the medication may be the cause. Consult with the prescribing doctor to rule out the possibility that your bleeding gums could be caused by your new medication.
Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease. Gingivitis is an extremely common cause of bleeding gums. The condition is caused by the presence of plaque – a sticky film containing bacteria that creates acids that eat away at your tooth enamel and irritate your gums.
Ignoring early signs of gingivitis can cause gum disease to progress into irreversible periodontal disease, which involves the risk of losing your teeth. If you have ruled out other common causes of bleeding gums, you may have gingivitis. So make an appointment with your dentist at your earliest convenience to receive a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Gingivitis is a common medical condition that can be reversed with professional dental care. Some common symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Red and tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Swollen or receding gums
- Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
If your bleeding gums are caused by gingivitis, and brushing and flossing more regularly at home does not help, you will need professional care from a dentist. They may prescribe an antibiotic to be applied to your gums each day. You may also receive a professional teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist. Only a dental professional can remove tartar, the hard form of plaque that develops around the gums, causing them to bleed.
Another dental treatment for bleeding gums caused by gingivitis is known as a scaling and planing. During this treatment, your mouth would be completely numbed. A dental professional would use dental tools to scrape away plaque and tartar from your teeth and around your gum line.
The Bottom Line
Although bleeding gums is an unpleasant experience, help is available. If your efforts at regularly brushing and flossing at home are not successful, you should contact your local dentist soon to schedule an appointment so that they can make a diagnosis and recommend the appropriate treatment.