Are Bleeding Gums Serious?

Bleeding gum tissue is rather common and usually not serious. You may see some pink when you spit out the toothpaste after brushing and flossing, which can irritate sensitive gums. Patients can often treat minor gum bleeding on their own at home but more severe or persistent swelling and bleeding may need to be addressed by your Dentist.

Good oral hygiene can prevent sensitivity and bleeding, poor hygiene often being the number one reason a person may experience bleeding gum tissue. A buildup of plaque and tartar allows bacteria to grow along the gum line and lead to inflammation.

What causes bleeding gums?

There are a number of reasons you may experience bleeding gums, the most common being poor oral hygiene practices. Other causes include:

  • not brushing often enough, at least twice a day
  • toothbrush bristles are too hard or stiff
  • toothbrush is worn and no longer cleans effectively
  • flossing too roughly, instead of gently pushing it down and hugging the sides of each tooth
  • certain medicines, such as aspirin, blood thinners, or ibuprofen
  • gingivitis

How are bleeding gums treated?

There are some home remedies you can try to ease gum pain and stop bleeding. Let’s take a look at some helpful tips.

Brush and Floss

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time is vital for plaque removal. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, use circular motions over every surface of your teeth. Your toothbrush should be replaced every three months, or every time you have your teeth professionally cleaned.

Flossing your teeth at least once a day ensures that the plaque and bacteria between teeth are removed regularly. Your toothbrush can only do so much so flossing is an important part of your oral care routine. If you are starting a new flossing habit, you may have bleeding at first but that should stop with consistent flossing.

Mouthwash and Saltwater Rinse

Mouthwashes with antibacterial properties such as those that contain chlorhexidine and hydrogen peroxide can treat and prevent bleeding gums. They kill bacteria and reduce inflammation to soothe sore, swollen, and bleeding gums. Mouthwash can also treat and prevent gingivitis, which is a common cause of bleeding gums.

A saltwater rinse can help reduce bacteria and speed healing time. You can make a saltwater rinse by adding one half teaspoon salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Swish the rinse in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit it out. You can use a saltwater rinse as often as you need unless otherwise instructed by your Dentist.

Gauze and Ice

If you are experiencing bleeding in your gums, you can use a clean, damp piece of gauze to gently press on the area until the bleeding stops. Patients with a weakened immune system or other medical condition may find that their gums take a long time to stop bleeding. Speak to your Dentist about the best way to stop the blood flow.

Additionally, a cold compress held against swollen and bleeding gums will help to soothe the area. Ice packs are great for minor oral injuries that cause swelling and can also reduce pain and swelling from gingivitis. Use ice for 10 minutes at a time with 10-minute breaks (10 min on, 10 min off). If the bleeding does not stop, contact your Dentist.

If you have tried to manage bleeding gums on your own and symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is time to consult your Dentist.

Why are my gums bleeding?