Why are my gums bleeding?
Persistently swollen, red, or bleeding gums are cause for concern.
The information shared here should help you identify the potential cause of your bleeding gums so you can develop a treatment plan and avoid bleeding gums in the future.
Common causes of bleeding gums
The primary cause of bleeding gums is plaque buildup along the gumline. This plaque houses harmful bacteria. The bacteria consume sugars and release toxins which can lead to inflammation of the gums, also known as gingivitis. As gingivitis persists, plaque continues to accumulate, hardens to tartar and prolonged irritation of gum tissues leads to bleeding of the gums. Left untreated, gingivitis will advance to a chronic disease of the gums and jaw bone known as periodontitis.
- Gingivitis. This is the mildest form of gum disease.
- Periodontitis. This condition causes permanent damage to your gum tissue and bone supporting your teeth, and must be treated by a dental professional.
A note about blood thinning medications: While these medications do not cause bleeding, they can contribute to excess blood flow should bleeding occur. Tell your dentist if you are taking blood thinners ahead of any dental procedures so they can take the proper precautions to reduce bleeding.
How can I avoid bleeding gums?
To keep your gums healthy, you need to take good care of your teeth and gums every day. That means brushing and flossing/cleaning interdentally daily and making sure you clean every part of your mouth: not only the surface of the teeth but also the spaces between the teeth and below the gumline.
Simple changes you can make to improve your gum health include
- Using a soft toothbrush to avoid further irritating gums and allow them to heal
- Using toothpaste and mouthwash formulated for treating the early stages of gum disease
- Using floss or interdental cleaning tools designed for removing plaque from between teeth.
Changing your diet to reduce the amount of sugary foods you consume will help you reduce your risk of developing gum-irritating plaque. Replacing processed foods and sugary snacks with vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables can give a boost to your gum health.
Make sure you see your dentist twice a year too, as they will be able to spot any early signs of gingivitis.
What should I do if I have bleeding gums?
If you have bleeding gums, don’t panic! The best thing to do is to book an appointment with your dentist, who will help you to find the best solution for you.
In the meantime, carry on with your normal oral care routine – don’t stop brushing or cleaning between your teeth with floss or an interdental brush. If brushing is painful, you could try using an ultra-soft toothbrush.
Find out more in our guide to spotting early signs of gum disease.