Bleeding gums is a common oral health problem affecting the majority of the population. It’s also the most common sign of gum disease; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 47.2% of adults 30 and older have gum disease to some degree.
However, it may also be a sign of another problem. Knowing the reasons why gums bleed will help us understand what you need to do to prevent or stop them.
Causes of Bleeding Gums
Several things can make gums bleed. These include:
Poor Oral Care
Brushing too hard, using a toothbrush with a hard bristle, or flossing incorrectly can lead to bleeding gums. Incorrect oral care techniques can injure your gums and result in poorly-cleaned teeth, leading to gum disease and other oral and dental conditions.
Gum disease is the most common cause of bleeding gums. It occurs in two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the earliest stage; it occurs when plaque — a sticky film covering your teeth from bacteria and food debris — isn’t properly removed. It can make the gums swell and bleed. Leaving plaque on the teeth for 24 to 72 hours will allow it to harden and turn into tartar, which only dentists can remove.
Leaving gingivitis untreated allows it to progress into periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease. This is an infection of the gums, jawbone, and other supporting tissues supporting your teeth. It can lead to loose or lost teeth, and eventual bone loss.
Not getting enough Vitamin C and K can lead to bleeding gums. These two vitamins help with tissue growth and repair, blood clot formation, and strengthening your teeth and bones. If you have bleeding gums unrelated to poor dental hygiene, you should speak with your doctor about having your vitamin levels checked.
Certain illnesses, like leukemia, hemophilia, or thrombocytopenia, can cause bleeding gums. These illnesses cause a lack of platelets or clot formation that stops bleeding. Consult your doctor about these illnesses.
Diabetes is a disease that results in high sugar levels in the body, which makes it difficult for your body to heal. It also reduces your body’s ability to fight off infections. All these combined make your body prone to gum disease and worsen it.
Your gums may also bleed if your dentures are too tight for you.
Pregnant women may also experience bleeding gums. The hormonal changes during pregnancy make gums more sensitive and prone to bleeding. Don’t worry; it will resolve on its own.
Lastly, blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, aspirin, and heparin can result in more frequent gum bleeding. Some may also cause dry mouth, making the teeth and gums prone to harmful bacteria that can lead to gum disease.
How To Stop Bleeding Gums
There are several ways to stop your gums from bleeding:
Practice good oral hygiene.
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to manage bleeding gums. Study correct oral care techniques or ask your dentist to teach you. Replace hard-bristled toothbrushes with soft-bristled ones, and be gentle when you brush and floss. You may also consider using an electric toothbrush; they have specialized brush heads that make gum line cleaning easier than a manual toothbrush.
Your dentist may also recommend antiseptic mouthwash to control plaque buildup. You may also use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste, which helps remove any remaining plaque from the gum line and repair weak tooth enamel.
Avoid or stop smoking.
Smoking makes it difficult for the body to heal and fight off infections like gum disease and other oral and dental conditions. Quitting tobacco products stops your gums from bleeding and lets them heal.
Eat a healthy diet.
A healthy, balanced diet will ensure you get the nutrients your body needs to heal and make your teeth, gums, and bones healthier and stronger. Consume foods rich in Vitamins C and K if your bleeding gums are due to vitamin deficiencies.
Good sources of Vitamin C and K are:
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Bell peppers
- Swiss chard
- Olive oil
- Mustard Greens
Drink green tea.
Daily green tea consumption may help alleviate gum disease symptoms and reduce bleeding. Green tea contains catechin, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that help fight bacteria in the mouth. A study of 940 men found that drinking green tea was associated with improved gum health and less gum bleeding.
Experts recommend drinking three to ten cups daily, depending on the desired health benefits.
Reduce your stress levels.
Research suggests there is a connection between stress levels and gum disease. Emotional stress weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight infections. However, more research is necessary to understand the exact link between gum disease and stress.
Some people also neglect their oral hygiene when stressed, leading to plaque buildup. Find healthy ways to manage stress and maintain good oral health.
Use a cold compress.
Gum disease isn’t always the cause of gum bleeding. Gum tissue damage or injury can also make gums bleed.
A cold compress can slow blood flow, helping reduce swelling and stop bleeding. To use a cold compress, put an ice pack or a cold cloth on your gums for 20 minutes. Take 20-minute breaks before putting the cold compress back.
Visit a dentist regularly.
Regular visits to your dentist are essential for maintaining optimal oral health. Coming in for professional cleanings every six months helps remove plaque and tartar buildup that only dentists can remove, prevent bleeding, and maintain the overall health of your teeth, gums, and tongue.
Bleeding gums are a common health problem that various factors such as poor oral care, gum disease, vitamin deficiencies, and illnesses can cause.
To stop gums from bleeding, practice good oral hygiene and try reducing your stress levels. You should also watch what you consume: eat a healthy diet, drink green tea, and avoid or quit smoking. You may also use a cold compress if the bleeding is due to injury. Consult a doctor and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
Maintain optimum gum health with Century Dental.
Don’t wait around hoping for the better. Take action and visit your dentist to ensure your oral health. Our dentist near Treasure Island, FL, will skillfully care for your teeth and gums and provide bleeding gum treatments. They can also perform periodontal treatments if your gum bleeding is due to gum disease.
Take the first step to better oral health. Contact Century Dental today.