Have you ever noticed blood in your sink while brushing or flossing your teeth? If so, you’re not alone. Bleeding gums is a common problem that affects people of all ages. In the UK, a staggering 45% of adults have experienced bleeding gums at some point in their lives, And around 19% of the global adult population is suffering from severe periodontal gum disease according to recent data from the World Health Organisation (WHO). This common issue not only affects oral health but can also have broader implications for overall well-being.
Bleeding gums are a symptom of gum disease, a serious infection that can damage the gums and bones that support the teeth. Untreated gum disease can lead to teeth loosening and falling out. If you notice bleeding gums, it is important to see a dentist or hygienist to determine the cause and get the appropriate treatment. In most cases, bleeding gums can be treated with improved oral hygiene and professional dental care.
Signs and Symptoms of Bleeding Gums
The most common sign of gum bleeding may include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Gums that recede from the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Pus between the teeth and gums
Causes of Bleeding Gums
Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of gum bleeding. Plaque and tartar build-up at the gumline can irritate and inflame the gums, leading to bleeding.
Other causes of gum bleeding may include:
- Gingivitis: This is the early stage of gum disease, caused by plaque and tartar build-up. The gums may become red, inflamed, and easily bleed.
- Periodontitis: This is a more advanced stage of gum disease that can damage the gums and bones that support the teeth. People with periodontitis may experience bleeding gums, loose teeth, and tooth loss.
- Brushing too hard: Brushing your teeth too hard can irritate and damage the gums, causing them to bleed.
- Dentures or other dental devices that don’t fit properly: Dentures or other dental devices that are too tight or too loose can rub against the gums and cause bleeding.
- Certain medications: Some medications, such as blood thinners, can increase the risk of bleeding gums.
- Nutritional Deficiency: A deficiency in vitamins A, C, or K, both of which are important for gum health, can lead to bleeding gums.
- Pregnancy: Hormonal changes might make the gums more sensitive and prone to bleeding during pregnancy.
- Other health conditions: Some health conditions, such as diabetes and leukaemia, can also cause bleeding gums.
- Smoking: Smoking weakens the immune system and reduces blood flow, making them more susceptible to infections.
How to prevent Bleeding Gums
The best way to prevent gum bleeding is to practise good oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and using mouthwash are all part of it. It’s also important to visit your dentist or hygienist on a regular basis for check-ups and cleanings.
Here are some tips to keep your gums healthy and prevent bleeding:
- A healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet can help keep your gums strong and healthy. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, and make sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Quit smoking: Smoking can damage your gums and make them more susceptible to bleeding.
- Manage stress: Stress can worsen gum inflammation and bleeding. Manage stress in healthy ways, such as through exercise, relaxation techniques, or spending time with loved ones.
When to Visit a Dentist About Bleeding Gum
You should visit a dentist or hygienist about bleeding gums if:
- Your gums bleed often when you brush or floss.
- Your gums bleed for more than 2 weeks.
- Your gums are red, swollen, or tender.
- You have bad breath.
- Your teeth are loose.
- Concerns about your gums or teeth
What to Expect During a Dental Visit
When you visit a dentist or hygienist for bleeding gums, they will perform a physical examination of your gums and teeth. They may also take CT scans or X-rays to get a better look at the bone structure around your teeth.
Based on the results of the examination, the dentist will determine the cause of your bleeding gums and recommend a treatment plan. Treatment for bleeding gums will differ depending on the underlying cause.
Professional Treatments for Bleeding Gums
Here are some of the most common professional treatments for bleeding gums:
- Scaling and root planing: It is a deep cleaning procedure that removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line. It is a non-surgical treatment for gum disease that helps to stop the progression of the disease and prevent tooth loss.
- Antibacterial mouthwashes: These mouthwashes can help reduce inflammation and kill bacteria in the mouth. They may be used in addition to scaling and root planing or as a standalone treatment for mild gum disease.
- Laser therapy: This treatment uses laser energy to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line and to kill bacteria. It is a fairly new treatment for gum disease, but it has shown promising results.
Bleeding gums can be a sign of serious oral health issues, so it’s important to take action if you experience them. By following good oral hygiene practices, visiting your dentist regularly, and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can manage and prevent bleeding gums and keep your smile healthy for a lifetime.
If you have any concerns about bleeding gums, please do not hesitate to contact The Dental Lounges clinic. Our experienced dentists and hygienists can diagnose the cause of your bleeding gums and recommend the best treatment plan for you.