6 Reasons Gums Can Bleed
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 9/28/2023
Ever noticed a slight hint of blood after brushing or flossing your teeth? You may be wondering if it’s normal for your gums to bleed. The truth is, gum bleeding is actually quite common. But if it happens too often or you’re uncertain of the cause, it’s important to further investigate as it can be a sign of a more serious health issue. Read on to discover five possible reasons your gums can bleed and what you can do about it.
6 Reasons Gums Can Bleed
Reason 1: Gingivitis
Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is one of the main reasons your gums may start bleeding. When gum disease sets in, your gums become inflamed. They may look red and feel sore. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease and can even lead to necrotizing ulcers, commonly known as trench mouth. However, it may be reassuring to learn that trench mouth is a rare occurrence in developed nations where people have access to proper nutrition and better living conditions.
Reason 2: Plaque Buildup
If you don't brush or floss your teeth regularly, plaque, the sticky biofilm coating made of leftover food particles, natural bacteria, and saliva, can accumulate on your teeth. The presence of this buildup can significantly contribute to the development of gingivitis and bleeding gums. As plaque hardens, it transforms into tartar which can further irritate your gums and cause bleeding.
Reason 3: Diabetes
When you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your body retains higher levels of blood sugar. This sugar-rich environment in your saliva makes it easy for bacteria and plaque to form which results in bleeding gums and gingivitis. If you're living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, consult your doctor on effective strategies to prevent gum bleeding.
Reason 4: Vitamin Deficiency
Studies show a deficiency in vitamin K and vitamin C can increase the likelihood of bleeding gums. Vitamin C strengthens gums, and when your body lacks an adequate supply of this vitamin, your gums may become weaker and more susceptible to bleeding. Vitamin K promotes natural blood clotting. If your body is deficient in this vitamin, it can be easier for your gums to bleed.
Reason 5: Poor Dental Habits and Technique
Neglecting to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once are common reasons for gum bleeding. This is why when you start flossing again after a long period of going without, you may see some blood on the gumline. Brushing too hard or flossing incorrectly can also damage your gums or result in bleeding. If you're unsure about the proper way to brush or floss, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist. They can demonstrate the proper techniques for you.
Reason 6: Medications
If you take blood-thinning medications, your blood’s ability to clot decreases. This makes it more likely for your gums to bleed. To minimize this risk, thoroughly review your medications and prescriptions to understand potential side effects. Talk to your doctor about preventative actions you can take to avoid bleeding gums.
What To Do If Your Gums Are Bleeding
If you notice your gums are bleeding, first, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to cleanse and stop additional bleeding. Try to identify the cause. Are you brushing too hard? Do you need softer toothbrush bristles? Did you resume flossing after skipping a couple weeks? If bleeding occurs frequently or becomes more severe, contact your dentist or doctor immediately. They can examine your gums, determine the cause, and advise on treatment.
How To Prevent Gums From Bleeding
There are numerous, easy ways you can prevent your gums from bleeding. Chief among these is maintaining excellent oral hygiene: brushing teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day. These key practices will reduce the presence of plaque and tartar which lowers the likelihood of your gums bleeding. You can also adopt a well-balanced diet that contributes to stronger gums and better dental health. Finally, be sure to schedule and attend your semi-annual dental appointments so your teeth and gum health can be examined every six months.
Treatment Options For Bleeding Gums
There are a variety of treatment options available for bleeding gums. Once your dentist does a comprehensive examination to pinpoint the root cause, they can perform a dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar.
In some extreme cases, surgery could be required to help remove buildup or reduce the size of periodontal pockets that develop around your teeth. Explore the most suitable treatment options with your dentist.
Keep Your Gums Healthy With a Kimball & Beecher Dentist
Whether it's preventing bleeding gums or demonstrating better brushing and flossing techniques, our dentists are renowned for being skilled and friendly. If you're looking for a new dentist or want to learn more about how to keep your gums healthy, contact us to schedule an appointment today.