If you've noticed some blood after brushing or flossing your teeth, don't panic. There are several reasons why your gums may bleed. What causes bleeding gums? Learn about the common causes of bleeding gums after brushing and when to see your dentist.
What Causes Bleeding Gums?
There are several reasons why your gums may bleed. Some causes are more severe than others. You can prevent bleeding gums as well, with proper oral hygiene, including keeping your regular dental appointments. Here are some common causes for bleeding gums, and we will describe them in-depth below:
- Changes in dental hygiene routine
- Brushing or flossing too vigorously or with too much pressure
- Pregnancy gingivitis
Gingivitis can cause swollen, tender, and sometimes bleeding gums during brushing. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. When plaque on your teeth and at the gumline is not removed by brushing and flossing, it can infect the gums. The good news is that gingivitis is reversible with treatment with your dental hygienist and dentist.
The leading cause of gingivitis is improper oral hygiene. If not addressed, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. The good news is you can prevent this outcome by seeking treatment as soon as the early signs of gingivitis appear.
If your dentist has diagnosed gingivitis, you should be aware that gingivitis can affect other health conditions. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, diabetes is a risk factor for gum disease. Some people can have a potential association between gum disease and other severe health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Blood-thinning medications are also a possible cause of bleeding gums. Blood-thinning medications decrease the blood's ability to clot, which can lead to bleeding. Let your dentist and physician know about your experience and the medicines you're taking during your regular appointments. If the bleeding becomes more serious, contact your physician immediately.
3. Changes in Your Dental Care Routine
If you have not flossed regularly before, your gums might start to bleed between your teeth when you begin to floss. It should clear up within a week with regular care. If it doesn't, then contact your dentist to set-up an appointment because this may be a sign of gingivitis.
Using a firm-bristle toothbrush may also result in bleeding gums. Switch to a soft or medium-bristled brush and talk to your dental hygienist about what toothbrush is right for you at your next appointment.
4. Brushing or Flossing Too Vigorously
You may notice some bleeding if you floss or brush too vigorously. But don't give up the practice — both flossing and brushing are critical for oral health. Ensure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and use a gentler touch. The bleeding should stop within a week.
5. Pregnancy Gingivitis
Pregnant women may experience swollen gums and bleeding during brushing. The American Pregnancy Association calls this "pregnancy gingivitis." Hormones can alter the body's response to the bacteria that cause gum disease, causing inflammation. Going to your dentist and dental hygiene appointments, regular brushing, and daily flossing can help to prevent gum inflammation and bleeding from becoming worse.
You can correct bleeding gums with proper oral hygiene using a soft-bristled brush and gentle flossing technique. Keep up with your dental appointments so you can prevent gingivitis and the more severe gum disease stages.