Noticing that your gums bleed when you brush or floss can be alarming. What are the possible causes of bleeding gums? There are different reasons that gums may start to bleed during brushing, some are temporary and some are of more concern. If you are worried about your oral health, then make an appointment with your dentist.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Plaque on your teeth and at the gumline that is not removed by brushing and flossing can infect the gums and lead to the symptoms of gingivitis. When gingivitis occurs, your gums may become swollen, tender and sometimes bleed during brushing. This early stage of the disease responds well to good brushing and flossing habits and regular dental checkups.
The American Dental Association lists blood thinning medications as one of the possible causes of bleeding gums. These medications decrease the blood's ability to clot, which can lead to easier bleeding. Let your dentist and doctor know about your experience and any medications you may be on.
New Flossing Routine
Changing your flossing routine can also lead to bleeding gums. For example, if you haven't remembered to floss in a few days or if you have begun to floss more frequently to help remove food and plaque from between your teeth, then you may notice some bleeding. This should clear up within a week.
Switching from a soft-bristled toothbrush to a firm brush may also result in gums that bleed. Try returning to a soft or medium-bristled brush and talk to your dentist about what toothbrush is right for you at your next appointment.
Some pregnant women experience swollen gums and bleeding during brushing. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis. Hormonal changes during pregnancy alter the body's response to the bacteria that causes gum disease. According to the American Pregnancy Association, symptoms should clear up after pregnancy. A dental checkup and regular brushing and flossing can help to prevent gum problems from becoming worse.
Bleeding gums can be a sign of gingivitis, which can develop into the more serious stages of gum disease. The best way to find out what is causing your gums to bleed is to see your dentist and dental hygienist.