Bleeding gums are usually one of the first warning signs letting you know that there’s something wrong going on with your oral health, and a look into causes and treatments will be needed.
“Healthy gums don’t bleed.”
Chances are, you’ve probably heard it before, whether it was from our Princeton, NJ, dentist or the hygienist during your preventative care appointment.
Even if you’ve had occasional bleeding off and on for years, the situation could actually be getting worse without you realizing it.
So, what do bleeding gums mean?
Why Are Your Gums Bleeding (What Causes Bleeding Gums)?
What causes bleeding gums typically comes down to three different reasons:
Disease — Gum disease is the primary cause of bleeding gums. It ranges from mild gingivitis to aggressive periodontal disease, but bleeding is a common symptom, no matter how severe the infection is.
Trauma — No surprise here. Our mouths are extremely vascular. Just one bump or hit can lead to extensive bleeding. If you accidentally cut your gums by flossing incorrectly or your toothbrush slipping, it could in theory cause them to bleed.
Systemic Health Problems — Anything from a vitamin deficiency (anemia) to genetic disorders can increase your chances of having bleeding gums. But don’t dismiss them. If your gums are bleeding, they’re also letting plaque biofilm transfer directly into your cardiovascular system. So having bleeding gums could actually make your overall health even worse. If oral hygiene isn’t helping, you likely need to see a medical doctor.
Gums Bleeding After Dental Cleaning
Some people say that they only experience their gums bleeding after dental cleanings. That could be true, especially if you have plaque and tartar buildup along your gum lines and you’re not flossing each day. When instruments disrupt that bacteria tucked under the edges of your gums, the swollen tissues start to bleed.
But here’s the good news. Getting a thorough dental cleaning is the best way to keep bleeding gums from coming back. Once you have a “clean slate” so to speak, you can maintain it with better daily oral hygiene. Yes, that means flossing tightly around teeth and sliding it under the gums.
In theory, you should be able to get rid of those bleeding gums within just a couple of weeks, as long as your gum disease isn’t severe.
Bleeding Gums and Gingivitis
When bacteria invade your body, it’s your immune system’s job to target the infection. Typically, you’ll see signs of redness and swelling as antibodies start to flush to the site of the germs. That’s exactly what you see when you have gingivitis.
In order for the antibodies to access the bacteria, the connective tissues between your blood supply and the biofilm have to allow blood to pass back and forth. Touching your swollen or red gums with a toothbrush or floss will trigger immediate bleeding.
Seeing the bleeding can actually be a good thing, because it makes you aware of an infection that you need to treat. But ignoring it or not cleaning your gums simply because they’re bleeding will only allow the infection to get worse.
Untreated gingivitis will slowly evolve into more aggressive periodontitis. As that happens, the gums pull away from your teeth and the underlying bone starts to shrink away. Unfortunately, it can’t grow back. Over time, that aggressive infection will cause your teeth to become mobile or even fall out.
How to Stop Your Gums from Bleeding
If you still only have gingivitis, you’re in luck! With the right steps, you can reverse the symptoms and stop bleeding gums within about two weeks.
First, angle your toothbrush towards your gum lines when you brush. Make short back-and-forth strokes across just one or two teeth at a time, stimulating the gum lines and disrupting any plaque that’s present.
Then, wrap a strand of floss around the side of the tooth, sliding it up and down and slipping it under the gumlines. It’s important that the floss stay in a “C” shape and not go up and down without any curvature, so that you don’t traumatize your gums and cause them to bleed further. The floss should be able to reach at least a couple of millimeters under the gums.
Consider investing in an electric toothbrush and/or water flosser, to remove even more plaque bacteria.
Schedule a professional dental cleaning at our Princeton dentist office every six months. We’ll lift away any tartar that built up between visits and make you aware of specific areas that might need more attention.
If bleeding doesn’t improve within a couple of weeks, you might need a professional treatment for gum disease.
Treatment for Bleeding Gums
Aside from preventative care and good hygiene, there are more therapeutic treatments for bleeding gums associated with periodontal disease. This process typically includes a series of “deep cleanings” or scaling and root planing, where bacteria are thoroughly removed from the gum pockets around your teeth. If they’re deep enough, a regular brush and floss will never be able to reach them.
In some cases, it’s also necessary to place tiny capsules of antibiotics down into the recently cleaned pockets.
Best of all, soft tissue laser therapy can help treat bleeding gums by eliminating the infectious bacteria and gently stimulating the outer layer of cells so that they coagulate and seal back against the tooth. Laser gum treatments for bleeding are safe and don’t require any type of down time.
Toothpaste for Bleeding Gums
Choosing the best type of toothpaste can sometimes be quite a headache. The important thing to remember is that toothpaste is just an add-on to thorough, physical plaque removal with your toothbrush and floss. Adjunctive products can help, but don’t rely on them to fix the problem for you.
When you’re choosing a toothpaste for bleeding gums, look for one that’s formulated for gingivitis or gum disease, especially if it has an ADA seal of approval.
How to Prevent Bleeding Gums
Learning how to prevent bleeding gums can be as simply as daily self-care. It requires manual removal of bacteria along your gumlines and between teeth, along with preventative dental care from a family dentist you trust.
Contact Canal Vista Family Dental in Princeton today for individualized bleeding gums treatment advice!