“Gum bleeding” refers to the bleeding that occurs from the gums when they are irritated or infected. It is a common symptom of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.
Gum bleeding can occur for several reasons, including:
- Plaque and tartar buildup: Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. If it is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar and cause inflammation and bleeding in the gums.
- Gum disease: Gum disease is an infection of the gums that occurs when plaque and tartar are not removed and cause inflammation and infection in the gums. This can lead to bleeding, swelling, and receding gums.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can cause the gums to become more sensitive and prone to bleeding.
- Certain medications: Some medications can cause dry mouth, which can lead to plaque and tartar buildup and bleeding gums.
- Brushing or flossing too hard: Brushing or flossing too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can irritate the gums and cause them to bleed.
- Illnesses: Some illnesses, such as leukemia, can cause abnormal blood clotting and lead to easy bleeding in gums.
Gum bleeding is not normal and should be evaluated by a dentist or periodontist. Early treatment can help prevent more serious problems from developing and can help preserve your oral health.
How Is Gum Bleeding Treated?
The treatment for gum bleeding will depend on the underlying cause.
- Plaque and Tartar removal: A dental cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, is done to remove plaque and tartar buildup. This can help reduce inflammation and bleeding in the gums.
- Gum Disease: If gum disease is diagnosed, treatment may include a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, and may also include antibiotics to help fight the infection. In advanced cases, surgery may be needed to restore the health of the gums.
- Hormonal changes: Your dentist may recommend using a soft toothbrush and using a mouthwash to keep your mouth moist during hormonal changes.
- Medications: If your medication is causing dry mouth, your dentist may recommend using a saliva substitute or a prescription toothpaste that can help combat dry mouth.
- Brushing or flossing too hard: You may be advised to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and to be gentle when brushing and flossing.
- Illnesses: If an underlying illness is found, you may be referred to a specialist for further treatment.
In addition to the above, good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly, can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup and reduce the risk of gum bleeding. Regular dental check-ups are also important to monitor the health of your gums and to catch any problems early.