Bleeding gums can be alarming. You’re brushing your teeth and you look in the sink, only to see some blood mixed in with your toothpaste. Or, you look in the mirror and see some blood coming from your gums.
While bleeding gums are definitely not something you want to experience, they’re not always a huge cause for concern. In some cases, bleeding gums can signal that there’s an issue with your oral health. In others, they can develop as a result of certain habits or lifestyle choices.
Knowing what can make your gums bleed is key to correcting the problem. Finding the cause of the bleeding can help you improve your oral health and feel more confident in your smile.
What Can Cause Bleeding Gums?
One of the major causes of bleeding gums is plaque and tartar buildup along and just underneath the gumline. If plaque and tartar aren’t removed, they can eventually cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. When you have gingivitis, the gums become inflamed and might be swollen and a dark red color.
The good news about gingivitis is that it’s not only treatable, it’s also reversible. Your dentist can give your teeth and gums a professional cleaning to remove the built-up plaque, tartar, and accumulated bacteria. After the professional cleaning, your dentist will give you pointers and tips for keeping your teeth and gums clean at home.
Although gingivitis is one of the most common causes of bleeding gums, it’s not the only cause. If you have a regular oral care routine and you still notice some redness when you brush, it could be due to several other factors.
For example, some people develop bleeding in the gums because of the way they brush. Using a lot of force and pressure when brushing your teeth might seem like a great way to get your teeth and gums really clean. But, usually, too much force just causes irritation and can make your gums more likely to bleed. When it comes to brushing your teeth, it is possible to get too much of a good thing.
The toothbrush you use can also cause your gums to bleed. Medium or hard bristle brushes can be too rough for the delicate surfaces of your gums. It’s best to stick with a soft bristled brush unless your dentist recommends otherwise.
If you’ve recently started flossing, it’s fairly common to see some bleeding, while your gums get used to the process. A bit of a blood can also be a sign that you’re flossing with too much pressure and can ease up a bit.
Ladies, here’s another thing you can blame on hormones: bleeding gums. Changes in your hormone levels during that time of the month, during menopause, when you’re on birth control or when you’re pregnant can all trigger bleeding in the gums.
Your diet can also contribute to bleeding gums. If you don’t get enough of certain nutrients, such as vitamin C or K, in your diet, the gums can be more likely to bleed. Also, some foods can physically harm the gums, leading to bleeding. For example, sharp edges on potato chips can cut into the gums, creating a small wound.
What to Do If You Have Bleeding Gums
One of the best things you can do if you notice bleeding gums or if the bleeding is ongoing is to schedule an appointment with your dentist. If it’s been a while since your last visit, you might be in need of a cleaning to help remove tartar and plaque build up. During your visit, your dentist can take a close look at your teeth and gums and diagnose any concerns, such as gingivitis or a more advanced form of gum disease.
Dr. John Paul Gallardo is a periodontal specialist in the Miami area who also offers dental exams and cleanings. He can recommend options that are right for your needs. To schedule an appointment in Miami, FL, call 305-547-8687 today.