Given that roughly 20% of Americans never floss and only about 4 in 10 floss every day, bleeding gums during flossing is a common occurrence for many Americans. While this might happen to you, it doesn’t mean it should. In fact, bleed gums of any kind can be a sign of a gum disease and other dental issues.
In order to diagnose why your gums might be bleeding, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist who can assess your overall dental health. If you have bleeding gums it is most likely the result of plaque build up around the teeth. This is why dental cleanings and great dental hygiene is so important.
Here’s a look at what can cause bleeding gums as well as some tips on what you can do about it.
Gingivitis – Early Signs of Gum Disease
If plaque build-up occurs, gums can inflame and become irritated which might result in bleeding during brushing or flossing. In many cases this is diagnosed as gingivitis and is an early stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is usually painless and bleeding gums may be the only symptom. However, gingivitis can cause tender and red gums, bad breath, loose teeth and misalignment. The sooner you are able to spot gingivitis the better chance you have to reverse it.
When gingivitis or early stages of gum disease go unaddressed, the gums often separate and reced from the teeth. When gums recede like this, they leave behind pockets or gaps between the teeth and gums opening them up to bacteria and germs that become trapped in these pockets. Bleeding from brushing or flossing is common in these situations.
Periodontitis is the next phases of gum disease and can cause tooth and bone loss if the issue remains untreated. In addition to tooth and bone loss, abscesses, misalignment of teeth and aesthetic changes can also occur as a result of periodontitis. Finally, gum disease has also been linked to diabetes and heart disease as well as pregnancy complications.
Other Causes of Bleeding Gums
Some additional, less common causes of bleeding gums can be related to nutritional deficiencies like a lack of Vitamin C and K. Also, pregnancy can cause inflamed gums as well which may result in bleeding during brushing or flossing.
How to Stop & Prevent Bleeding Gums
The first step to treating bleeding gums is to see your dentist in order to understand what exactly is causing the bleeding gums and if gum disease is present. From there, your dentist will guide you in an approach to restore the health of your gums, most likely including the following tactics:
- Increase in the daily brushing recommendation – after each meal and before bedtime
- Use of a toothpaste that is gentle on the teeth/gums, has fluoride and doesn’t have Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Floss twice a day
- Rinse with a suggested mouth wash after you brush
- Schedule a follow up after a set period of time to see how your gums are progressing
The reality is that the best way to treat bleeding gums is to prevent them in the first place. That means following dental standards as they relate to dental hygiene and seeing your dentist at least every 6-months. With strong hygiene and a good diet, you minimize your chance of dealing with bleeding gums and can prevent gum disease.
If you are dealing with bleeding gums, make an appointment today.