My Gums are Bleeding! What's Causing It and What Can I Do?
It starts with that easy-to-recognize copper taste in your mouth. Then you look into the mirror and see the redness leaking down your teeth. Your gums are bleeding, but the question is, why?
The answer isn’t always as simple as poor hygiene or using the wrong technique while flossing. There are many reasons your gums may be bleeding, from chronic illnesses to slip-ups in your hygiene routine. Below we will discuss many reasons why you may be experiencing bleeding, and how to fix it or avoid it in the future.
Causes of Bleeding
When you first notice bleeding gums, your first move should be to try and figure out why it’s happening. If you can’t find out right away, seeing a dentist is always the best idea.
Poor or Subpar Hygiene
Everyone is already aware that brushing and flossing are vital for your oral health and wellness. What you might not know is how you brush and how you floss is more important than the mere completion of these tasks.
Brushing or flossing incorrectly is a major cause of occasionally gum bleeding. Although we think of these two activities as fairly straightforward, the American Dental Association has specific guidelines for how to brush and floss properly.
How to Brush
For starters, you should always brush in the morning and just before bed. Brushing before and after you’ve stopped eating is essential to remove the maximum amount of plaque from the teeth.
Ensure that, whether you are using a manual or automatic toothbrush, your brush is equipped with soft bristles. Soft bristles remove plaque without injuring the enamel on teeth. Make sure that each tooth gets about 15 seconds of personalized attention when brushing, as well.
Knowing when it’s time to replace your toothbrush or the head of your power brush is vital to get the most benefit from brushing. You should replace your brush or brush head when the bristles become frayed, or every three to four months. Replace it earlier if you’ve suffered from a bad cold, strep throat, or a similar illness.
How to Floss
Careful flossing once a day is the second thing we are all told to do from the time we are children. How you floss, is as important as how you brush to keep gums healthy. Aggressive flossing can cause bleeding gums and lead to infection down the road.
To properly floss, start with about 18 inches of floss and hold it tightly toward one end between the thumb and forefinger. Next, place the floss between two teeth and gently slide it down to the gums. Make sure you do not snap floss against the gums to avoid injury.
When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it to make a c-shape around one of the teeth, and then gently rub the side of that tooth while moving the floss up and down. This motion will help to remove plaque from between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Repeat this method on all teeth, ensuring you use clean floss each time.
Remember to floss the backs of your back teeth, as this area is easy to forget during your hygiene routine. Also, ensure that you reach the area of the teeth just below the gum line, but be extra gentle so as not to hurt the gums.
Rinse Your Mouth
Brushing and flossing are two major aspects of oral hygiene, but an effective mouthwash is the last major piece of your daily hygiene puzzle.
Opt for an anti-bacterial mouthwash. These are available in many flavors, and with or without alcohol, so you don’t have to experience the harsh feeling that some mouthwashes cause.
Some dentists recommend using probiotic mints on top of your mouthwash in order to bring back the good bugs that live in your mouth and help protect your teeth and gums. They dissolve easily and leave your breath smelling fresh.
Get Your Regular Checkups In
Dentists are highly trained to catch gum disease at the first stages so that they can treat it quickly. Ensuring you get in for your regular appointments is a vital part of your normal routine.
If you have been experiencing intermittent bleeding, even if it has been a month or so, make sure you tell your dentist. Communication is the key to any good relationship, and that includes your dentist and doctors.
Dumpy Diets and Bad Habits
Another reason you may be experiencing intermittent bleeding in your gums is your diet. A strong foundation is always necessary for excellent health, no matter where. Ensuring that you aren’t sabotaging that foundation with bad habits is just another way to keep your oral health in check.
Missing out on the proper amounts of calcium, phosphorous, and Vitamin D can have an adverse effect on your oral health, and lead to serious issues. Eating lots of sweets or acidic foods can wear down tooth enamel, and aid bacteria in forming.
Ensuring that you eat right will not only help to block cavities, which can lead to bleeding and irritated gums, but it will also help you to build stronger oral soft tissues. The soft tissues in your mouth are the most sensitive in your body, so taking care of them should be a top priority.
Kick the Butts
Cigarettes and chewing tobacco are well known for being bad for your oral health. The chemicals in both cause inflammation and enlargement in the lungs. On top of that, chewing tobacco sits on your gums, causing constant irritation and sores. Since tobacco use of any kind slows the healing of your mouth, this is asking for trouble.
Do you know the scariest part about tobacco causing your gums to bleed? The bacteria that live between your teeth and gums can slip through the cracks and into your bloodstream. Those bacteria can then begin to negatively affect every organ in your body.
The best way to stop the risk of damage caused by tobacco is simply to quit. Ask your dentist or doctor for information if you’re not sure where to start. Then, set yourself up with a support system that will help you to achieve your goal.
Your family history plays a huge role in your overall health, whether you like it or not. Those genes can also affect your likelihood to develop periodontal disease, which is an unpleasant and primary reason that your gums bleed if they do so quite often.
Luckily, recent studies have found that gene therapies and excellent oral health care can both greatly reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease, regardless of your genetic background. More research is still being done on how and why these genes cause periodontal issues, but knowing we can stop the effects is a major win.
How Can I Stop the Bleeding?
Ending the cycle of bleeding should start with a trip to your dentist. You need to have a concrete answer as to why the bleedings started in the first place so that you can accurately plan your counter-attack.
If the cause is as simple as dietary problems or incorrect oral hygiene procedures, the fix is simple. Follow the procedures discussed above to help alleviate issues caused by brushing and/or flossing. If it’s diet-related, start by adding calcium-rich foods and getting the proper vitamins and minerals.
If your issues stem from something deeper than diet, daily routine, and bad habits, you will need to get professional help. Treating gum disease is what dentists are trained for, and you can rest assured you will get the best and most advanced treatment possible.
Moral of the Story
At the end of the day, your oral health is mainly up to you. If your gums are bleeding, you will want to take a step back and ensure that your oral hygiene routine is on point.
Even as adults, some of us take how we brush and floss for granted, so if you are having trouble with broken, bleeding, or swollen gums, you may simply not be using the proper technique.
Understanding how smoking and chewing tobacco can negatively affect your oral health is also important in the fight against gum disease. Even though you think you understand the risks associated with this behavior, there is always more to learn and watch out for.
If your bleeding is consistent, make sure you head to the dentist to get everything checked out. Your dentist will be able to tell if something deeper is going on at the first sign of a disease, so keeping your regular checkups regular is essential to the well-being of your mouth. Call us at R + R Dental today at 516-874-7834 for more information!