How to Treat Bleeding Gums

March 17, 2023

When you notice blood while brushing or flossing your teeth, you might feel concerned. The good news is that infrequent bleeding gums are typically normal and harmless. However, if you notice that your gums bleed nearly every time you brush or floss them, you might have gum disease.

The best way to know if your bleeding gums are a sign of a specific condition is to seek treatment from a professional. In the meantime, you can read more below to learn what bleeding gums mean.

What Causes Bleeding Gums?

In some cases, bleeding gums can be normal — maybe you brushed too hard or nicked your gums while flossing. Similarly, neglecting your oral hygiene, like forgetting to brush twice a day, can lead to bleeding gums. In other instances, bleeding gums allude to a more serious condition that requires treatment from a dentist or another oral health professional.

What do bleeding gums mean? Below are the most common causes of gum bleeding:

  • Plaque: When you put off brushing your teeth, plaque builds up because the bacteria that create plaque sit on the surface of your teeth uninterrupted. This buildup leads to bleeding gums when you brush and floss your teeth.
  • Gingivitis: Often, bleeding gums is a symptom of gingivitis, which is a mild form of gum disease. This condition requires treatment from a dentist, though you might be able to alleviate early gingivitis symptoms with better oral hygiene practices.
  • Periodontal disease: If you avoid seeking treatment for gingivitis, you can develop periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease that might require a more invasive treatment to correct.
  • Rough flossing or brushing: Being too rough when cleaning your teeth can lead to irritation, causing bleeding gums. Try being gentle to avoid bleeding gums — brushing in gentle circles is effective. If you use a hard-bristle toothbrush, switch to a soft-bristle version.
  • Pregnancy: The hormonal changes you experience when pregnant can make your teeth and gums more sensitive. As a result, you might develop pregnancy gingivitis. Follow all of your dentist’s advice on how to treat bleeding gums in pregnancy to alleviate your bleeding gums.
  • Smoking: Using tobacco products generally increases your risk of negative oral health effects. If you smoke tobacco, it’s important to realize the correlation between smoking and poor gum health.
  • Medications: Certain medications can make you more susceptible to bleeding gums, such as blood thinners. List all of your current medications on your health history report when you see your dentist, so they can work with you to make the right decisions for your oral health.
  • Stress: Severe ongoing stress can lead to an increase in your body’s inflammation. Although another cause might be mainly responsible for your bleeding gums, stress can worsen your oral health.
  • Rare underlying conditions: If you have a blood disorder, vitamin K or C deficiency, a hormonal imbalance, leukemia, or another health condition, a symptom might be bleeding gums. If you experience frequent bleeding gums when cleaning your teeth, speak with your dentist.

How to Treat Bleeding Gums at Home

If you have bleeding gums, make sure you see your dentist for medical advice. As you wait for your appointment, you can try the following ways to alleviate your bleeding gums at home:

1. Brush More Often

If you’ve fallen into a routine of not brushing your teeth, do your best to be consistent again. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently brush in a circular motion. Do so twice a day — once at morning and once at night — to help keep your gums healthy and clean.

2. Purchase the Right Toothpaste

Strengthen the gum tissue around your teeth with toothpaste formulated to prevent gum disease. A detoxifying toothpaste for treating gingivitis can neutralize plaque and protect your gums from infection. If your gums are sensitive, you can use toothpaste made for sensitivity and treating gum disease.

3. Use Dental Floss

Using floss is important for your dental hygiene because it removes food particles between your teeth. Excess food particles can sit on the teeth for months and eventually form plaque. To prevent that, flossing removes the particles that seep below the gum line and cause bleeding.

4. Try Additional Products

Try using additional products to improve your routine or combine products for more effective treatment. These items can supplement your current dental hygiene routine:

  • Mouthwash: Use a rinse formulated for gum care to treat your bleeding gums.
  • An electric toothbrush: This type of toothbrush is easier to use for many patients. It’ll make brushing every day a more comfortable and effective process.
  • A dental pick: This tool will help you clear out the spaces between your teeth without using string floss.

Long-Term Treatment for Bleeding Gums

Can you prevent bleeding gums? Below are some methods you can use to ensure your mouth stays healthy:

1. Schedule General Cleanings

One of the most important things you can do for your oral health is to see your dentist for regular exams and cleanings. Do your best to schedule a dentist appointment twice a year to prioritize your oral hygiene. These visits allow your dentist to properly clean your teeth and catch any issues that might be occurring.

See your doctor outside of your general cleanings if you have urgent symptoms, like noticing bleeding gums every time you brush or floss your teeth.

2. Quit Tobacco Products

If you use tobacco, you should be careful with your consumption — tobacco has many negative effects on the teeth and gums. Specifically, smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products can increase your risk of developing gum disease. If your gums are sensitive and bleeding and you use tobacco, try to quit or use tobacco in smaller increments.

3. Reduce Stress Levels

Unfortunately, stress can have consequences on your oral health. If you experience frequent stress, consider adding healthy stress-relieving activities like meditation to your routine. Lowering your stress levels with a few routine changes will also help you feel more open to improving your dental hygiene routine.

4. Eat a Balanced Diet

Because teeth require vitamins and minerals to stay strong, you’re more susceptible to oral health problems when you eat a poor diet. Eating consistent nutritious meals throughout the day will help improve your overall health, including your oral health. Here are a few ways you can improve your diet for healthier gums:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables with each meal.
  • Limit your intake of processed foods, which usually have a high salt content and low nutritional value.
  • Eat fewer foods with sugars and high fructose corn syrup. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugary foods, which is why sweets are some of the worst foods you can eat for your dental health.
  • Eat more foods with calcium and vitamin D to help keep your bones and teeth strong.

5. Remember to Replace Your Toothbrush

Replace your toothbrush at least every three months. If you keep the same toothbrush for longer than that, bacteria will build up on the surface of the bristles. The bristles of a toothbrush also become less effective the more you use it.

6. See Your Primary Care Doctor for Checkups

Some health conditions can increase your susceptibility to bleeding gums. This is why it’s important to know if you have a related health issue. With a diagnosis and a treatment plan, you can control your health and prevent complications.

7. Practice Consistently Good Oral Hygiene

Make a long-term goal of practicing good oral hygiene for your gum health. If you struggle with bleeding gums, one of the best actions you can take is reevaluating how often you brush and floss. Additionally, you need access to the proper care tools, like a toothbrush and dental floss. If you have questions about proper oral hygiene, don’t hesitate to speak with your dentist for guidance.

How to Know When It’s Time to See a Dentist

Generally, bleeding every time you floss is a bad sign. If you fix the gaps in your oral hygiene, such as flossing properly, and you still notice bleeding gums, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Although bleeding gums could be a sign of gum disease in its early stages, it might be an indication of a more serious issue.

If you notice the following symptoms, contact your dentist:

  • Pain: If you feel pain in the areas between your gums where you floss, it’s possible that you might have gingivitis, or its more severe form, periodontitis.
  • Swelling and redness: These symptoms could be a sign of gum disease.
  • Fever: A lasting fever that worsens suddenly could mean you have an infection.

Note that neglecting to treat bleeding gums and the issues that cause them can lead to health complications, some of which are irreversible. Therefore, you must contact your dentist as soon as you notice frequent bleeding gums. A few complications of bleeding gums include:

  • Advanced gum disease
  • Infection
  • Tooth loss
  • Undiagnosed cancer allowed to progress

Schedule an Appointment With AZ Family Dental

If you have bleeding gums and want to visit a dentist, the dedicated team at AZ Family Dental is ready to help. Our professional staff will work with you to identify the underlying cause of your bleeding gums, providing the appropriate treatment measures to get your oral health back on track. Additionally, we offer preventive care services to help you avoid gum problems.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

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