Have you ever noticed your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? Are you concerned? Just scroll down this article to know the reason behind it?
Are you even aware that gum diseases are the second most common oral health ailments in adults? And it is also a major reason for the majority of tooth loss. Bleeding gums can have multiple underlying causes ranging from wrong brushing techniques to serious gum disease. Each one of us will have this question “if bleeding gums are dangerous?.” However, a small amount of bleeding may not be a big deal, but when your gums bleed constantly, then you should not overlook it? Bleeding gums itself is not dangerous, but the underlying cause contributing to this condition may be. Bleeding gums is not only indicative of dental problems; it could also be a warning sign of a serious medical condition.
The main reason for your gums to bleed is the buildup of plaque at the gum line. Plaque refers to the sticky film of bacteria that coats the teeth, which develops when food containing carbohydrates and sugar is left over on the teeth. When this plaque is not removed for a long period, then it hardens and results in the formation of calculus, leading to more bleeding and resulting in an advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. The other causes of gum bleeding include:
Brushing Technique: When brushed too hard or when not brushing the teeth often enough, or when using a worn-out toothbrush.
Improper flossing method.
Poorly fitting or ill-fitting dentures or any other dental appliances.
Infections of the tooth or gums.
Trauma to the mouth or the gums.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Vitamin C deficiency.
Usage of blood thinners.
Anybody can develop bleeding gums, but these factors are more likely to increase the risk of developing bleeding gums:
Poor oral hygiene.
People with dry mouth.
Smoking or chewing tobacco.
People taking oral contraceptive pills, certain calcium channel blockers, or anticancer drugs.
There are various medical conditions whose manifestation could include bleeding gums. Here is the list of medical conditions that can cause bleeding gums:
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection:
HIV infection is a serious infection caused due to a compromised immune system. It is transmitted through blood contact or through direct sexual contact with the HIV-infected individual or from the infected mother to the baby. The other signs and symptoms of HIV infection in the oral cavity include:
Soreness in the oral cavity.
Chronic dryness in the mouth.
Bone loss around the teeth.
Anemia refers to a condition caused due to reduced red blood cell count in the blood. There are different types of anemia. One of the types of anemia that is associated with bleeding gums is pernicious anemia, a type of anemia associated with malabsorption of vitamin B12.
Herpes Simplex Virus Infection (HSV):
Herpes simplex virus infection causes soreness in the oral mucosa, bleeding gums, and severe pain.
Bleeding disorders such as factor V deficiency can cause symptoms like bleeding gums, easy and frequent bruising, and nosebleeds.
Cancers like leukemia can cause painful eruptions on the gums, inner parts of the cheek, or the tongue.
The other symptoms that are commonly seen along with bleeding gums are:
Persistent bad breath (halitosis).
Painful gum sores.
Gingival pain or discomfort.
When you report to the dentist, the first criteria include identifying the underlying cause. The dentist collects a thorough history and determines the causes of bleeding. If the gums bleed due to dental plaque, then a deep dental cleaning is done to remove the plaque buildup. Suppose there are other causes like vitamin deficiency, then it is treated accordingly. So the overall treatment solely depends on the underlying cause.
Bleeding gums should never be overlooked; it needs treatment immediately. Gums can bleed for various reasons, so the underlying cause has to be addressed. But you may require an immediate visit to the dentist when you have the following conditions:
When the bleeding does not stop for a very long period or when it does not stop even after home care treatment.
When you have unexplained symptoms along with it.
Bleeding gums progresses to an advanced and serious disease when left untreated. Some of the complications of bleeding gums embrace:
Periodontitis refers to an advanced form of gingivitis. It is the infection of the gums, supporting bone, and the surrounding tissues that connect the teeth and the gums. Periodontitis can also result in the mobility of the teeth.
Trench mouth, otherwise known as necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (NUG), is a severe form of gingivitis causing bleeding gums and painful ulcerations.
Bleeding gums can definitely be prevented when you follow these measures:
Have a visit to the dentist at least once every six months for removal of plaque and to determine if any dental appliances or dentures are causing gums to bleed.
Brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristle toothbrush twice daily.
Rinse your mouth after every meal.
Regular flossing of teeth also prevents plaque buildup.
Try avoiding snacks in between meals and cut down on carbohydrates as much as possible.
If you have been diagnosed with any vitamin deficiency, then take vitamin supplements.
Avoid using tobacco products as it can only worsen your bleeding.
If you feel you have had after taking a particular medicine, then contact your healthcare provider and get it substituted.
Good oral hygiene practices and healthy eating are essential for maintaining gum health. Having regular dental visits help reduce the risk factors of periodontitis, preventing the loss of teeth. In addition to it, your dentist will also schedule effective at-home care to prevent further episodes.
Last reviewed at:
11 Apr 2022 - 5 min read
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