flossing teeth at homeYour gums are a critical part of your dental health, and if they start bleeding, it may be a sign of impeding gum disease.

Your gums should be a healthy shade of pink. They should not be red, swollen, or prone to bleeding. And it’s important to take this seriously, because even though they are a small part of the body, that doesn’t mean they don’t play a big role in your dental and overall health.

If your gums bleed just once or twice, it may not be a very serious problem. On the other hand, if you continue to experience this problem, you may need to set up an appointment as soon as possible. Let’s take a closer look at this condition.

What Causes Bleeding Gums?

Gingivitis – The number one cause of bleeding gums is related to poor plaque removal. As plaque continues to build up, it can irritate your gums and lead to gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease).

Red, sensitive gums are also signs of gingivitis, so if you start to notice that along with some bleeding, be sure to contact us as soon as possible. We can reverse this situation before it gets out of hand.

Medication – Some medications (whether prescription or over-the-counter) act as blood thinners, which can increase the potential for bleeding gums. Others may increase the risk of gum disease, like certain heart medications, which means bleeding is more likely.

Pregnancy – There are some hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy that affect the entire body, and that means you may experience swollen, sensitive gums that are more prone to bleeding during this time.

Changes in your dental routines – Your gums can become accustomed to a certain routine, and if you up the number of times you brush and floss, you may experience some bleeding. This is temporary, though, and soon they’ll be accustomed to your new habits.

However, if your new routine including brushing your teeth as vigorously as you can, then you should back down on the power and use gentler motions.

Age – As we get older, the risk of gum disease goes up (statistically speaking), which means we may be more likely to experience bleeding gums.

What Can You Do about Bleeding Gums?

There are several things you can do to correct minor gum bleeding issues.

First, refocus on your daily oral care routines. The most common cause of bleeding gums is plaque buildup on the gum line. That means you can avoid or reduce a lot of these problems by really sticking to a strict at-home dental routine.

This is all the stuff you’ve heard before. Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and always come in for your regular checkups and dental cleanings. If you’re a tobacco user, this is just one more reason to consider giving it up.

Next, you can start changing your diet, because the foods you eat can have a very real impact on your gums. Sugary foods and foods filled with carbohydrates really contribute to the formation of plaque, so they need to be avoided. Switch some of your favorite sweets out for more vegetables or other nutrient-rich foods and see if it helps the swelling go down.

Finally, ask your doctor about the medicines you’ve been prescribed or the over-the-counter products like aspirin that you’ve been using. If they are known to thin the blood, you may ask about some alternatives.

When Is the Problem Severe Enough to See the Dentist?

If you notice some unexplained bleeding one morning while brushing your teeth, it may be a sign of impending gingivitis, or it may be something far less severe.

If it just occurs once or twice, it could simply be related to some changes in your dental routine. However, if you continue to experience swelling and bleeding, then you should make an appointment right away.

We will be able to evaluate your current condition and determine what (if anything) needs to be done. If there is a more serious condition underlying your bleeding gums, we’ll be able to recommend the right course for restoring your health.