Bleeding after brushing or flossing, or simply at random times, may be a sign of unhealthy oral tissues. Many people think bleeding gums is normal, particularly after flossing their teeth, but it is usually a signal to change your oral hygiene routine and visit the dentist. Regardless of the cause, your bleeding gums are a warning sign.
What Causes Bleeding Gums?
One of the most common causes of bleeding gums is gum disease, also called gingivitis or periodontitis (periodontal disease). Gum disease can cause the gums to bleed while eating, randomly during the day, or after brushing or flossing the teeth. Other causes are more related to lifestyle choices, such as following an unhealthy diet, which does not provide the nutrition to maintain oral health. Smoking cigarettes is another cause of bleeding gums, as it can impact the body’s immune system and increase the risk of gum disease and inflammation in the gums.
Bleeding Gums from Gum Disease
According to the California Dental Association, bleeding gums is an early warning sign of gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, but it can lead to periodontal disease, a more serious gum disease, without proper care.
Symptoms of gum disease — aside from bleeding gums — include tender or inflamed gums, pus between the gums and teeth, bad breath, loose or shifting teeth, receding gums, sensitivity to cold and hot foods and beverages, and changes in how teeth fit together while biting.
Myths to Avoid
There are some common myths about bleeding gums, according to the American Academy of Periontology (AAP). The academy advises patients to ignore these myths:
Myth #1 - Cleaning between teeth, every day, is not necessary.
Cleaning the surfaces between your teeth is just important as cleaning any other surface of the tooth. Flossing removes particles and bacteria that a toothbrush doesn’t reach, and people who don’t floss often end up with gum disease.
Myth #2 - It is normal for gums to bleed.
The AAP encourages individuals to ignore the myth that bleeding gums is normal and not serious. Instead, it is a sign of gum disease and needs to be addressed right away.
How to Prevent Bleeding Gums
The best way to prevent bleeding gums is to clean all surfaces of the teeth and do it consistently. To clean all surfaces of the teeth you should brush the teeth twice a day to clean the areas you see and feel, floss at least once a day to clean the areas you can't reach with a toothbrush, use an irrigator, like the Hydro Floss, to clean the areas below the gum that you can't reach with floss and by visiting the dentist at least every six months.
It is important to use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the tooth surface or irritating the gums. Brushing the teeth after every meal may be necessary for people with gum disease, in order to keep the gums as clean as possible and prevent bleeding gums. Hydro Floss helps keep gum tissue clean and aids in healing by promoting blood flow in damaged tissue. Eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding sugary foods and beverages also contributes to good oral health.