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Patient examining bleeding gums at dentist office

It can be alarming to see blood in the sink after we brush, floss, or rinse our mouths. While there’s no reason to panic, bleeding gums is something to be concerned about. In most cases, it is a simple issue of brushing or flossing too hard. In some instances, it may be a sign of gum disease.

Here are a few things to know about why our gums bleed and what you can do about it.

Causes of bleeding gums

Bleeding gums may be caused by one of the following:

  • Brushing or flossing too hard
  • A symptom of gum disease
  • Taking medications containing blood thinners
  • Wearing ill-fitting dentures
  • Result of pregnancy

Brushing

You brush and floss every day and still you have bleeding gums. Hardly seems fair. Don’t worry, your gums aren’t bleeding because you’ve been ignoring your teeth. In fact, it may be just the opposite. You are probably brushing them too aggressively or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard.

You’ve no doubt noticed that toothbrushes are sold with varying degrees of hardness to the bristles. There are hard, medium, soft, and extra soft options. Dentists typically recommend using a soft bristle brush for everyday teeth cleaning. Harder bristles can damage gums and cause them to bleed or recede.

It is also important to be gentle when brushing. It might make sense to us that harder brushing techniques will result in cleaner teeth, but this method is very hard on gums. Gums are soft tissue after all, and they need a gentle touch. Brush teeth in a circular, massaging motion, not back and forth.

Flossing

A gentle touch is also required for flossing. Use a sliding motion to work floss in between teeth. Never force floss straight up between them. Many of us have certain irregularities in our teeth that make flossing difficult. As frustrating as this can be, it is important not to force the floss.

Gum disease

Bleeding gums are a possible sign of gum disease, so it’s not something you should ignore. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease which is caused by poor dental hygiene and can lead to bleeding gums. Periodontitis is a more severe type of gum disease. Regardless of the severity, consult with your dentist to get a proper diagnosis and gum disease treatment plan.

Pregnancy gingivitis is also common. Hormonal changes in a pregnant woman’s body can make gums sensitive and swollen and subject to bleeding.

Preventing bleeding gums

Continue to brush twice a day, floss daily, and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash. Remember, both of these forms of gum disease can be prevented with daily brushing and flossing. See your dentist twice a year for checkups and cleanings.

Schedule a checkup today!

If you have concerns about bleeding gums, schedule an appointment with University Dental Associates today. We provide expert care and advice in proper dental hygiene as well as dental checkups, cleanings, and x-rays. Our dedicated dental professionals also specialize in tooth extraction and repair, tooth replacement, and restoration. Schedule an appointment online today or call us at 708-304-8406.