Seeing blood in or around the teeth and gums, or on the toothbrush, could be pretty scary for some people. Others might think it’s “no big deal.” Which reaction is right?
The truth is: bleeding gums is a sign of a problem. The problem could be serious or it could be temporary; the cause of the bleeding gums makes a big difference.
Five most common causes of bleeding gums
- Gum disease. Plaque left on your teeth and gums can support bacteria that infect your gums. The first infection stage is gingivitis, the very common condition that causes gums to become swollen, tender, and sometimes bleed. Uncorrected, gingivitis can proceed to the more serious periodontitis that can damage gums and jaw bones, and can transmit bacteria into the bloodstream to affect other parts of your body. Bleeding gums draw your attention to gingivitis and periodontitis that should not be ignored.
- Medications. Some blood thinning medications decrease the clotting ability of blood in a way that results in occasional bleeding gums. Check with your doctor or dentist about this possibility.
- Changes in flossing habits. If you have forgotten to floss for a few days, or you’re changing how well or how often you floss, you may see some bleeding gums for a week or so. Tell your dentist about this at your next visit.
- New toothbrush. Changing from a soft-bristled toothbrush to a firmer brush can end up irritating or even damaging your gums. Switching back to the softer brush can solve the problem.
- Pregnancy gingivitis. Because of hormonal changes during pregnancy, some women experience swollen and bleeding gums while brushing teeth. Typically the problem ends after pregnancy as long as good daily dental hygiene is practiced.
Maintain daily good dental hygiene
Daily brushing and flossing, and regular dental checkups and cleanings can help you avoid these problems and keep your gums healthy and pink. But when problems such as bleeding do occur, the sooner you see our Scottsdale, AZ, dentist, the easier, and less expensive, it will be to correct the problem. Left uncorrected, you could experience more serious damage requiring restorative or cosmetic dentistry to correct. Some of these procedures may be more painful, so Dr. Rick provides sedation dentistry to reduce the pain and make you comfortable.
Dr. Rick Dentistry, in Scottsdale, AZ, sees patients with bleeding gums frequently and can determine whether the problem is temporary or more serious.