What Do Bleeding Gums Mean?

What Do Bleeding Gums Mean?

Published 29/09/2021

Last Reviewed 28/03/2024

Occasionally, when brushing or flossing your teeth, you may notice that your gums bleed a little bit. For most people, it is usually nothing. Maybe you were brushing a little harder than normal or you hadn’t flossed in a while. However, if you constantly have bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth, you may have an underlying dental health issue. Typically, the most common cause of bleeding gums are gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Why Do My Teeth Bleed?

We've seen some questions about this issue where people believe their teeth are bleeding when they floss.  To clarify, this isn't the case.  It might look like your teeth are bleeding, but it is actually your gums that are bleeding.

Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

So if it's not your teeth, it is your gums that are bleeding. But the question that's bothering you is: why are my gums bleeding? The causes can be many. It might be something as simple as the wrong type of brush or floss that might be troubling your gums. In this case, switching to a softer brush and better-quality floss will generally solve the problem.

However, if changing your brush or floss does not fix your bleeding gums problem, your bleeding gums could be a sign of a medical condition. Don’t delay taking advice from your dentist so the treatment can start quickly.

Most Common Causes of Bleeding Gums

Some common health conditions that may result in bleeding gums as a symptom include:

  • Gingivitis (causes inflammation in gums)
  • Pregnancy gingivitis (gum inflammation due to pregnancy)
  • Periodontitis (gum disease in its advanced form)
  • Leukemia (cancer of the blood)
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Lack of platelets (blood-clotting cells)
  • Certain medications, including blood thinners

Besides the medical conditions mentioned above, there may be other causes too that can result in bleeding gums:

  • Brushing vigorously
  • Using a hard brush
  • Recently included flossing in your routine. Your gums need some time to adjust to the change.
  • Ill-fitted dentures
  • Damaged dental restorations

Bleeding Gums & Periodontal Disease

The two most common types of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis. Both are caused by inadequate plaque removal. Plaque can build up under the gum line and cause inflammation and bleeding. If this isn’t treated, periodontal disease may lead to tooth loss and sensitive teeth overall.

Bleeding Gums and Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease that causes bleeding gums. It usually develops if plaque stays on the gums for too long. Plaque is the debris that sticks on your teeth and gumline and needs to be regularly removed by thorough brushing.

However, if you don’t brush regularly or properly, plaque remains on your teeth and gumline, developing cavities and gum diseases. Over time, as plaque continues building up on your teeth, it hardens into tartar (or calculus) and will eventually result in bleeding.

If you have red, swollen, or irritated gums and/or soreness in or around the mouth, you may have developed gingivitis.

Thankfully, the problem is a reversible one. Good oral health can help relieve the symptoms. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss every day. Accompany your dental care with a good antioxidant natural mouthwash and set up an appointment with your dentist regularly for a complete dental checkup.

Bleeding Gums and Periodontitis

Periodontitis is simply an advanced stage of gingivitis. If you don’t take care of your oral health even after experiencing symptoms of gingivitis, it may develop into periodontitis. It's an infection that affects your gums, supportive tissues, and jawbones. As a result, the support to your teeth gradually weakens, ultimately causing them to become loose or even fall out.

Some of the symptoms of periodontitis include bad breath, bad taste in your mouth, gums bleeding easily, red, swollen gums, and changes in the position of your teeth, especially when you bite.

Bleeding gums treatment is very important in serious conditions such as this one. If you experience any such symptoms that may indicate periodontitis (or even gingivitis), seek advice from a dentist immediately. If this medical condition isn’t treated promptly, you may even lose one or more of your teeth.

How to Stop Bleeding Gums

In most cases, minor gum diseases that cause bleeding can be taken care of at home. You can help fight bleeding gums and periodontal disease by taking care of your teeth. PerioSciences recommends practicing the following behaviors for healthy teeth, gums, and mouth.

●      Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily

Bleeding gums are most often a sign of poor oral hygiene. If you don't brush regularly, plaque builds up on your teeth and gums, ultimately causing gums to bleed. Brush at least twice daily and floss at least once a day to stop your gums from bleeding. Good oral health is even more important for pregnant women because certain hormonal conditions can trigger gum diseases.

●      Stop Smoking

Everyone keeps telling you - and it’s true! According to CDC, smoking is among the major causes of gum disease. Smoking weakens a person's immune system. Among other problems that result from this, your body will find it harder to fight off the plaque, which eventually worsens the gum disease. Quit smoking for your oral health and also the overall health of your body.

●      Reduce your stress levels

Gum diseases are also sometimes linked to your stress levels. Emotional stress impacts not only your oral health but also the overall health of your body. According to medical studies, stress weakens the immune system of your body. As a result, your body will put up a weaker defense against diseases and infections, including gum infection. It can also cause you to neglect your oral health. If your healthy routine is affected by stress and you forget to brush your teeth, it automatically translates into periodontal disease.

●      Drink green tea to fight against plaque and bad mouth bacteria

Studies have shown drinking green tea regularly can also help reverse periodontal disease and stop your gums from bleeding. Green tea contains catechin, which is a natural antioxidant that improves the body’s defenses against plaque bacteria in the mouth. Take three to four cups of green tea every day to notice positive changes.

●      Rinse your mouth with saltwater

Warm saltwater helps reduce bacteria in your mouth and speeds up healing from gum disease. Just dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth with it. It should be noted that too much salt can erode the enamel on your teeth, so be judicious in this treatment.

Bleeding Gums Treatment

You can treat bleeding gums at home, but it's important to consult a dentist if the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. If you have bleeding gums, it's important to be mindful of the dental products you are using. Interdental brushes or floss are effective in plaque from hard-to-reach places in the mouth. For enhanced dental care, accompany it with AO ProToothpaste – Sensitive, enriched with naturally sourced antioxidants to neutralize plaque bacteria soothe oral tissues. AO ProToothpaste also includes fluoride to fight cavities and potassium nitrate for tooth sensitivity.

Besides using the right products, it’s also important to switch to a nutritious diet to help build your body’s defenses against gum disease. If home remedies do not reverse the problem, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Identifying the problem in its early stage can help resolve it with simple treatments.

Toddler Bleeding Gums

Your toddler’s newly emerging teeth need even more attention than that of an adult’s. Bleeding gums in toddlers isn’t normal, so it’s important to identify the problem and resolve it promptly so your toddler can enjoy good oral health right from the start.

An emerging tooth, a bump on the mouth, or an incorrect bite may lead to an injury on the gums that might be causing bleeding. Minor injuries are normal and heal quickly, but if the bleeding continues, or if there aren’t any signs of injuries, consult a doctor for further diagnosis.

More serious problems that may be causing a toddler's gums to bleed include certain immune disorders. It can be very helpful to catch an immune disorder at an early stage, so don't delay contacting the doctor.

Good oral health is the key. Limit your toddler’s sugar intake and brush their teeth regularly to prevent gum disease. Consult your dentist on the best time to start flossing. While most children might not need it until grade school, some may need to start earlier, depending on their body and diet.

Visit The Dentist As Soon As Possible

While it is good to identify why your gums are bleeding you should also make an appointment with your dentist immediately to ensure there are not any other underlying causes to your bleeding gums. Furthermore, plaque can not be removed with brushing and flossing alone, so getting a deep clean from your dentist can set your mouth and gums on the right track to being healthy and reduce swelling.

Sensitive Teeth Too?

Often times, when someone has bleeding gums or gum disease, they will also have signs of sensitive teeth like sharp pain eating or drinking extra hot or icy cold foods. it can sometimes be a good idea for people experiencing this issue to also use a toothpaste and mouthwash for sensitive teeth. Also, a dental gel can help by soothing your sensitive gums. Talk to your dentist about what you should do.