Have you ever brushed your teeth or flossed before bed, only to discover that your gums are bleeding? Most adults have experienced this from time to time. But though you might not think much of it, the truth is that bleeding gums are not normal. Bleeding gums can be a sign of gingivitis. Though gingivitis is common and is only a mild form of gum disease, you should take it seriously. When left to worsen, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis and tooth loss.
What causes bleeding gums?
The primary reason people develop bleeding gums, a primary contributing factor to gingivitis, is a buildup of plaque at the gum line. When plaque isn’t removed consistently through proper toothbrushing and regular visits to your dentist in Lakeway, Texas, the plaque that builds up on your teeth throughout the day starts to harden, turning into tartar. And tartar, also commonly referred to as dental calculus, can’t be removed at home. This plaque and tartar cause inflammation of the gums, which in turn makes your gums susceptible to bleeding.
Other common causes of bleeding gums that are less likely to be linked to developing gingivitis include:
- Bleeding disorders.
- Brushing too hard or using a medium- or hard-bristled toothbrush.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy.
- Dentures or other dental appliances that don’t fit properly in your mouth.
- Infection, which can be either in a tooth or the gum.
- Poor flossing.
- Use of blood thinners such as warfarin, aspirin, and heparin.
- Vitamin K deficiency.
Are bleeding gums dangerous?
Though your bleeding gums aren’t dangerous unless you have a bleeding disorder, the root cause of your bleeding gums can be. If your bleeding gums are a sign of developing gingivitis, then you must seek dental care to determine the appropriate treatment strategy.
Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, can be reversed with the proper dental treatment. And patients should know that gingivitis is the only stage of gum disease that can be reversed. The best way to enable that reversal is through a good at-home oral care routine and regular dental checkups with your family dentist.
Once gingivitis manifests into periodontitis, it’s an entirely different story. Treatment for early periodontitis usually includes coaching on how to improve your oral care at home, and a professional deep cleaning, called a debridement. A debridement is an intensive and invasive procedure that removes bacteria and calculus that has built up on your gums and the roots of your teeth.
If this stage of periodontitis progresses, it can mean damage to the ligaments or joints between the root of your tooth and its socket. The next stage, however, is when things get a bit more alarming. During the third phase of periodontitis, you might start experiencing bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. Your teeth may look longer too due to gum recession. But perhaps the greatest cause for concern here is tooth loss.
Finally, in the fourth stage of periodontitis, you are susceptible to tooth loss of not just one, but all of your teeth. At this point, your teeth don’t have enough remaining gum or bone to support them or they may not be stable or strong enough to support biting and chewing. But advanced periodontitis can contribute to other health problems, such as diabetes or even a heart attack.
What to do if your gums bleed.
If you notice bleeding gums, there are some home remedies that you can try. Typical at-home remedies for bleeding gums include:
- Gargling and swishing with a warm saltwater rinse.
- Practicing good oral care at home by brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing once a day between all teeth and gums, and rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash.
- Paying a visit to your dentist in Lakeway, Texas, once every six months for a dental cleaning and oral examination.
- Boosting your immune system by exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet that is high in fruits and vegetables.
- Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
- Practicing relaxation techniques when you feel stressed or are struggling to focus.
We also recommend that patients understand the risk factors for bleeding gums and gum disease. For example, over 60% of women develop gingivitis when pregnant. You may also be at higher risk if you smoke, vape, or chew tobacco, or have various genetic conditions. If you use tobacco products, the best thing you can do for your teeth and gums—and your overall health—is to quit. And if you are pregnant or have a genetic condition that increases your risk of gum disease, know that good oral care at home is more important than ever.
Have bleeding gums? Schedule an appointment with Tomasik Family Dental today.
If you believe you may have gum disease and are concerned about tooth loss and receding gums, now is the time to request an appointment with your favorite dentist in Lakeway, Texas. During your appointment, we’ll conduct a thorough dental cleaning and oral examination. Then, we’ll chat with you about the best treatment approach for bleeding gums and gingivitis. Don’t let your bleeding gums turn into something more serious. Schedule your appointment with Tomasik Family Dental today.