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Why Do My Gums Bleed?

Wednesday, January 26, 2022


Why Do My Gums Bleed?

Did you notice blood the last time you brushed your teeth? Experiencing bleeding gums is a common sign that you might have gum disease or poor oral hygiene. Typically, healthy gums don't bleed when brushing or flossing — unless you're brushing too hard or with a hard-bristled toothbrush. 

If your gums are left untreated, your symptoms can progress, possibly leading to other health issues. It's important to consider what might be causing your bleeding gums so you can bring up the issue to your dentist. Here are some reasons why your gums are bleeding and what you can do to stop it.

What Causes Bleeding Gums?

What does it mean when your gums are bleeding? Typically, it's because your gums have excess bacteria — but other factors can cause bleeding gums, too. To pinpoint what's causing your gums to bleed, you'll want to consider the following:

1. A Poor Oral Hygiene Routine

Most often, bleeding gums are a sign of a poor oral care routine. It goes without saying that brushing and flossing your teeth daily is crucial for proper oral hygiene. Leaving your teeth uncleaned can cause a buildup of plaque and bacteria, which often leads to bleeding gums. Following a regular twice-a-day brushing and once-a-day flossing routine helps you keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean.

2. Gingivitis

A common reason for bleeding gums is a gum disease known as gingivitis, which is a result of plaque building up in the mouth. It can cause the gums to swell, which leads to bleeding every time you brush your teeth. A progressive stage of gingivitis is called periodontitis, a severe version of gum disease that can lead to losing gum and jaw tissue.

Fortunately, you can prevent both forms of gum disease by maintaining a proper oral care routine and visiting your dentist twice a year.

3. Using a New Toothbrush

Have you recently transitioned from a soft bristle toothbrush to a hard bristle toothbrush? This type of bristles can cause your gums to bleed, especially when your gums are used to soft bristles. Most dental professionals recommend using soft-bristled toothbrushes to ensure a proper clean without harming the enamel on your teeth. If you have sensitive teeth and gums, using a toothbrush with soft bristles is especially important. 

4. Starting to Floss

Do your gums bleed when you floss? Remember that flossing your teeth should be part of your daily oral hygiene routine, as it removes plaque and bacteria that could cause gum disease. If you're not a regular flosser, bleeding could occur when beginning to floss — but should stop after a while as your gums get used to it.

5. A Poor Diet

Excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates can cause health problems, including tooth and gum damage. The bacteria that form plaque thrive in sugary environments, so maintaining a balanced diet of vegetables and fruits can keep your gums strong. A lack of vitamins can cause bleeding gums, so eat foods packed with vitamin C and vitamin K, like broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, lettuce and strawberries.

6. Excessive Smoking

The bacteria caused by smoking may impact your gum health. If you're a smoker and you've noticed bleeding gums, it's worth talking to your physician and dentist about how smoking is impacting your oral hygiene. Ultimately, quitting smoking is the best solution to avoid further gum damage and improve your overall health. 

7. New Medications

Many medications have a blood-thinning effect, which can cause bleeding on the gum line. If you're taking new medication and noticing changes in your gums, it's best to speak with your doctor about alternatives.

8. Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your hormones can fluctuate, causing your gums and teeth to be more prone to developing plaque buildup. If you're pregnant, you'll want to continue your current oral hygiene routine, as bleeding gums will go away after your hormones return to normal.

How to Stop Bleeding Gums

There are several ways to prevent bleeding gums when brushing and flossing. Here are a few tips to help you avoid bleeding gums:


1. Maintain a Daily Oral Hygiene Routine

Keeping a good oral hygiene routine will prevent the spread of bacteria and the development of plaque in your mouth. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash before bed. If your dentist has any special recommendations for you, you'll want to keep up with them to ensure you're doing everything you can for your oral health.

2. Rinse With Saline Water

Using salt water to treat bleeding gums can be beneficial, as it contains antibacterial properties and reduces gum inflammation. Rinsing your mouth with saline water two to three times a day will help. A teaspoon of salt mixed in a glass of lukewarm water is all you need. If your bleeding gums persist, see your dentist.

3. Buy a New Toothbrush

Almost all dental professionals recommend using soft-bristled toothbrushes, as they're less harmful to the gum line and tooth enamel. If you're using an electric toothbrush, be sure you're doing so properly — angle the toothbrush head at a 45-degree angle, gently holding the brush to the tooth before moving on to the next one. Always ask your dentist for advice when you're unsure which toothbrush you should be using.

4. Eat a Healthy Diet

While sugars can be harmful to your teeth and gums, you can always prevent the spread of bacteria by brushing after indulging in treats. As long as you enjoy your favorite sugary foods in moderation while practicing proper oral hygiene, you should be able to avoid bleeding gums.

5. Stop Smoking

Quitting smoking is a difficult task. Luckily, you and your doctor can work together to find healthy ways to stop smoking. These solutions could include exercise, nicotine alternatives and more. By cutting back on or stopping smoking altogether, your oral health will greatly benefit.

Consult Specialized Dentistry of New Jersey for Healthy Gums and Strong Teeth


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