When Should I Be Concerned with Bleeding Gums?

Far from a rare condition, bleeding gums are in fact a rather common source of irritation and concern. In some cases, bleeding gums can be attributed to minor injury, such as a laceration or even brushing one’s teeth too vigorously. In these instances, temporarily bleeding gums are easily explainable and not a source of concern; you’ll want to take some steps to reduce any sensitivity for a few days and take more care brushing in the future.

When bleeding gums cannot be attributed to injury, however, it is important to take note; your body may be trying to tell you about a developing problem that requires attention.

Possible Causes of Bleeding Gums

Improper Brushing

One possible culprit for bleeding gums is using the wrong toothbrush and/or using it incorrectly. In an effort to remove as much detritus as possible from their teeth, many people assume that a toothbrush with stiffer bristles, used with some pressure, is the best plan of attach. However, using a stiff brushed toothbrush in this way is a surefire way to cause trauma to one’s gums. Instead of a firm or even medium bristled toothbrush, opt for a soft bristled brush and don’t use too much pressure when brushing. Your teeth will be just as clean and your gums will be much happier, too.

Improper Flossing

If you’re already using a soft bristled toothbrush and applying the proper amount of pressure while brushing, think about your flossing technique. Do you jam the floss straight up to the gumline or do you gently wiggle the floss up the sides of each tooth? If it’s the former, try the latter – you’ll remove more bacteria from your teeth while causing less trauma to your gums.

Gum Disease

Gum disease can also cause gums that bleed; they may also become sore and swollen, though this is not always the case. Bleeding gums can be one of the first signs of gum disease, so it’s important to take note. Unlike the more advanced stages of gum disease, the first stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, can be reversed with early detection and treatment. This usually involves a thorough cleaning by your dental hygienist at the dentist’s office – it’s as simple as that.

Because gum disease is triggered by simple build-up of plaque and tartar around the gums, which then infects the neighboring gum tissues, cleaning this material away from the gums is enough to stop the spread when caught early. Gum disease that goes untreated, however, is not reversible, and can result in tooth and bone loss later on; for this reason, it is very important to not skip dental visits and to report any ongoing bleeding gums that you may experience.

When to Call Your Dentist

While a day or two of bleeding gums is not necessarily cause for concern, particularly if you’ve experienced an oral injury of have been brushing particularly vigorously, more than that is definitely a reason to call your dentist and make an appointment to be seen. If you’ve been suffering bleeding gums for the better part of a week, pick up the phone and call today.

Are my gums bleeding serious?