Noticing that your gums bleed when you brush or floss can be alarming. What are the possible causes of bleeding gums? Gums may start to bleed during brushing or flossing for a variety of reasons – some are temporary, while others are more concerning. If you are worried about your oral health, make an appointment with your dentist.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Plaque on the teeth and at the gumline that is not removed by brushing and flossing can infect the gums and lead to symptoms of gingivitis. When gingivitis occurs, the gums may become swollen, tender, and sometimes bleed during brushing. This early stage of the disease responds well to good brushing and flossing habits, along with regular dental check-ups.
The South African 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 using./p>
Changing your flossing routine can also lead to bleeding gums. For example, you may notice some bleeding 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. 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 germs that cause gum problems. Symptoms should clear up after a pregnancy. A dental check-up and regular brushing and flossing can help 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. Make an appointment with your dentist and dental hygienist to find out what is causing your gums to bleed.