Noticing that your gums bleed when you brush or floss can be alarming, and it shouldn’t be ignored. So what are the causes? There are many different reasons behind why gums may bleed during brushing, some are temporary and some are of more concern.
So here are four reasons your gums might be bleeding, and how you can put a stop to it.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Plaque on your teeth and at the gumline that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing can infect the gums (the gingiva), leading to symptoms of gingivitis. Your gums may become swollen, tender and sometimes bleed during brushing as a result. Painless and virtually symptom free, gingivitis is easily missed unless you notice bloodstains on your toothbrush or dental floss. But left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease; a critical oral condition characterised by the destruction of gum tissue and culminating in tooth loss.
Luckily, gingivitis can be reversed, and completely avoided. It’s virtually 100% preventable. Meticulous oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) to remove plaque from the teeth, in addition to regular visits to your dentist can keep bleeding gums and gingivitis at bay.
Ever wondered why your dentist asks if you’ve started any new medications? Some prescription drugs can raise your risk for bleeding gums. Some blood pressure medications, immuno-suppressants and blood thinning drugs can all cause gum inflammation and bleeding, while other drugs can leave you with a dry mouth – another trigger for gum problems. There are probably over 400 medications that can affect the amount of salivary flow in the mouth including antihistamines, sedatives, anti-depressants, and anti-psychotics. Saliva is needed to wash away food debris and neutralise the gum-irritating acids produced by bacteria. So if you lose your salivary flow, it’s important to have good oral hygiene because your mouth isn’t getting the beneficial effects of saliva.
Changing your flossing routine can also lead to bleeding gums. For instance, if you’ve forgotten to floss for a few days, or if you’ve begun to floss more frequently, then you may notice some bleeding. This should clear up within a week!
Brushing too hard, or not brushing at all is an obvious culprit. If you’re not committed to a regular and careful oral hygiene routine, your gums will suffer the negative consequences. Your gums are a fairly soft tissue, so if you traumatise them with a hard bristle toothbrush, you can make them swell and bleed. Soft bristle toothbrushes provide a gentler cleaning option, but if you forget to brush, the type of toothbrush you use won’t matter. The number one cause of gingivitis is the accumulation of plaque, so brush your teeth at least twice a day (morning and bedtime), and floss daily. This will remove both the plaque and any food debris left behind in your mouth after eating.
Remember, if you find you’re worried about your oral health, then absolutely make an appointment with your dentist! It simply can’t be stressed enough.
So if you are interested in booking yourself in, or you’d like more advice regarding your delicate gumline then please give us a call on 020 8088 2079.
And tune in next week, where we’ll be discussing a further four reasons behind bleeding gums…