When Should I Be Concerned with Bleeding Gums?
If you have been brushing your teeth and have noticed some blood in the sink, you are experiencing something normal and common for many adults. In fact, most adults will experience bleeding gums at some point, not related to an injury.
In most cases, it is a small amount of blood when you are finished brushing and flossing your teeth. Typically, people are not concerned when the bleeding is not profuse, but if your gums are bleeding at all, that is an indication that they are not healthy. Your gums are sending a warning signal to you that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. If people are afraid of the dentist, do not have dental insurance, or are afraid of what the dentist may find, they tend to ignore their dental issues until they get more serious. In the case of bleeding gums it may be as simple as gum disease which a professional cleaning can address adequately or it could be a sign that your body has a more serious medical condition like leukemia.
Addressing the most common reasons why people have bleeding gums, we need to talk about brushing and flossing techniques. Using a regularly replaced soft bristled tooth brush in a gentle circular motion will result in clean teeth and untraumatized gums. It may seem like a better choice to be more aggressive with brushing, but gums are sensitive and can be irritated easily. Circular motions instead of back and forth along the gum line prevents premature and unnecessary gum recession. Soft bristles on your toothbrush keep the enamel on the surface of your tooth intact while still being abrasive enough to remove plaque. Flossing after you brush by dragging the floss along the sides of your teeth to the gum line and carefully just below the gum line will remove any debris left behind after brushing. Some people use floss to address the areas where the teeth meet on either side while using too much pressure and damaging the gums. These simple changes can help stop any gum bleeding without a visit to the dentist.
A more serious reason your gums are bleeding is gum disease; there are multiple stages of this but each one can cause gum bleeding. More than half of the adults in the United States suffer from gum disease so it should not be surprising that it is the number one cause for bleeding gums. You will need to make an appointment with the dentist for proper treatment of your gum disease and to stop it from getting worse. What started at bleeding or swollen gums can lead to tooth loss and bone loss. Depending on how far advanced your gum disease is, the dentist may even be able to stop or even reverse the damage.
If you are concerned about your bleeding gums, you can make an appointment with the dentist for an exam. The dentist will take into consideration your medical history, medications, oral health, and at home habits in order to best help you and your whole mouth.