Oral Health Buzz
Are Your Teeth Bleeding? No, Your Gums Are
When you think you see your teeth bleeding, your gums are the actual source of the problem. Several causes can contribute to your gums bleeding, including a sudden impact when you fall down or your tooth or gums are impacted by an injury. But if your gums bleed when you have not bumped them, there may be cause for concern. When gums are bleeding, it can be a sign of something as simple as a new dental care routine or a sign that you need to consult your dentist for extra care. Read on to learn about causes of gums bleeding, ways to gently relieve the discomfort and methods to stop the bleeding.
When you first notice your gums bleeding, grab a washcloth or gauze square and soak it in cool water; if your teeth are sensitive to cold, use warm water instead. Wring out the excess water and gently put the cloth or gauze square against the bleeding area on your gums. Although the application of direct pressure can stop bleeding, do not press too hard on your teeth.
If you are experiencing pain along with the bleeding, you may be able to get instant relief by spreading a couple of drops of numbing oral gel along the gumline. Avoid pain relievers such as aspirin because they can thin the blood and cause your gum bleeding to worsen.
Changes in Your Dental Care Routine
If you have not flossed regularly in the past, your gums might start to bleed between your teeth when you first begin to floss. Also, your gums might bleed if you floss too vigorously. A new toothbrush can cause minor irritation and bleeding, too, especially if you opt for a toothbrush with firm bristles.
If you floss or brush too vigorously, do not just give up the practice — both flossing and brushing are absolutely vital to good dental care. Instead, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush, and simply use a gentler touch while your gums heal. The bleeding should stop within a few days.
When to Call the Dentist
Gum diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis, can cause bleeding along the gumline around your teeth. Both gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by plaque buildup on and between the teeth. While a dental exam is the safest way to identify these problems, you can look on your own for redness or swelling around the gumline as indicators of a condition.
Careful brushing and flossing will help you to avoid these problems, but if you are already having trouble with sensitive and bleeding gums (not teeth bleeding), you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to get a professional opinion.
Learn more about fighting gum disease in the Colgate Oral Care resources.
Source: Flickr/Joshua Ganderson