It’s never a great moment when you notice traces of blood in the sink after brushing or flossing. The source of this blood is usually your gums. Bleeding gums can have many causes, some of which are temporary and some of which need a little more attention. In this post, we’re going to details what causes bleeding gums, what you can do about it, and when it’s time for you to visit a dentist.
Common Causes of Bleeding Gums
Gingivitis is the most common cause of bleeding gums. It is the first stage of gum disease and results from not brushing or flossing your teeth regularly. When you neglect your oral health, plaque, containing bacteria, builds up on your teeth. This bacteria spread, irritating your gums which is what causes them to bleed.
Thankfully, early stages of gingivitis can be reversed with good brushing and flossing habits as well as regular visits to the dentist.
Some medicines can increase the likeliness of your gums to bleed. Common medicines including blood thinners, like Tylenol, are especially likely to cause bleeding.
Changes in hormones can affect your entire body and your gums are no different. Pregnancy gingivitis can lead to swollen and sensitive gums that may bleed after brushing or flossing. Symptoms should clear up after pregnancy.
New Toothbrush Or Routine
A new toothbrush with firmer bristles may cause your teeth to bleed. Your gums may also be irritated if you are brushing too hard.
Changes in flossing habits can also be the reason for bleeding gums. Whether you start flossing more often, or simply skipped a few days, changes in this routing can cause irritation and you may notice some bleeding. Once your body readjusts to the (good) habits, the bleeding should cease. This shouldn’t take longer than about a week.
What You Can Do About Bleeding Gums
There are several steps you can take to sooth your gums if they have started bleeding recently:
- Make sure to brush and floss twice a day
- Brushing and flossing remove bacteria from your teeth and mouth. Gums sometimes stop bleeding completely with regular flossing and brushing.
- Consider your toothbrush
- It’s best to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- You may also consider buying an electric toothbrush as they are more effective at removing plaque and bacteria from your gums than a regular toothbrush.
- Eat a healthy diet
- The foods and drinks you consume play an important role in your oral health. Enjoy sugars and starches in moderation. Sugar in particular is the perfect breeding ground for plaque to form. Try to brush after enjoying these snacks so that the sugar doesn’t have time to stick around.
- Avoid tobacco
- Tobacco products destroy all aspects of your health including your teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly
- You should try to visit your dentist once every six months for teeth cleaning. During cleanings, dentists and dental hygienists will remove built up plaque on your teeth.
When to See a Dentist
If you start practicing good habits, for example by brushing and flossing twice a day, your teeth may stop bleeding on their own.
If your teeth bleed continuously, for example after every time you brush your teeth for a few weeks in a row, it might be time to visit the dentist.
Other signs of gum disease that would warrant a visit to the dentist include:
- Gums that are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures
- Bad breath, or constant bad taste in your mouth
- Red and swollen gums
- Loose teeth
- Changes in the way your teeth align
If you notice any of these signs or experience any of these symptoms, you should consult with a dentist as soon as possible. Gum disease is reversible but only if you catch it in its early stages.