When Should I Be Concerned with Bleeding Gums?
There are a number of reasons that a patient may experience bleeding gums, which is a common issue among adults. Gum disease is the number one reason for bleeding gums but other reasons may include:
- Improper or overly aggressive brushing
- Improperly or not flossing
- Gum disease
- Underlying medical conditions
Even if a patient practices regular brushing and flossing habits, if they are done wrong they can cause additional damage. Brushing should be done at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and in a circular motion. Using a toothbrush that is too stiff can cause damage to the enamel and irritate the gum tissue, possibly even causing them to bleed.
Flossing properly is crucial to your overall oral health. If you need help flossing correctly, your dental hygienist will help you perfect your technique! Using a gentle touch when you floss is best to avoid cutting your gum tissue.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease advances in stages: the first stage of gum disease is gingivitis which is inflammation of the gum tissue; early periodontitis shows a slight loss of bone structure; in moderate periodontitis, more bone and gum tissue is destroyed and loosening of teeth may also occur; advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of the disease and damage is often irreversible.
Symptoms become more severe with advanced periodontitis at which point teeth can become very loose and biting and chewing may hurt. Extensive dental treatment is typically required to try to correct the damage of advanced periodontitis.
What causes gum disease?
Poor oral hygiene is the number one cause of gum disease. Gum disease occurs when sticky plaque is allowed to accumulate over time and calcify into tartar. The bacteria and plaque collect in the gum pockets and cause irritation to the gum tissue, leading to red and puffy gums. Your gum tissue can begin to bleed upon brushing and flossing when gum disease is present or when you first begin a flossing routine.
Simply improving your oral hygiene routine can relieve your gums from gingivitis but more progressed stages of gum disease will likely need treatment from your dental professionals.
At what point should I see my Dentist?
If you are unable to control gum bleeding on your own within a couple of weeks, you need to consult your Dentist. If your Dentist finds your gum tissue to be infected, they may recommend that you undergo a scaling and root planing procedure to remove the tartar buildup below the gum line. Severe gum disease may require treatment from a Periodontist in order to control the infection.
If your Dentist finds that your gum tissue is healthy yet you are still experiencing bleeding gums, they may have you set up an appointment with your primary care physician to ensure there are no underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to gum bleeding.