Bleeding Gums: What It Means & What You Can Do About It

Bleeding Gums: What It Means & What You Can Do About It

Have you ever noticed a little blood when you spit your toothpaste out after brushing your teeth?  Do your gums ever bleed after flossing?  While often not accompanied by any pain and a fairly common condition, bleeding gums should not be ignored.  There are several reasons why your gums may be bleeding, some more serious than others.  The good news is, once you and your dentist figure out why your gums are bleeding, you should be able to come up with a successful treatment plan.

Here are the three most likely reasons your gums are bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth, and steps you can take to solve the problem.

  1. Brushing Technique

Your gums could be bleeding simply because you are brushing too hard.  It is a common misconception that the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be.  In fact, brushing too hard will not only hurt your gums (hence the bleeding), but it will also cause damage to the enamel on your teeth.  The best toothbrushing technique is to place your brush at a 45-degree angle and use short, gentle strokes, brushing for an entire two minutes.  A good indicator that you are brushing too hard is if the bristles on your toothbrush are flattened and frayed.  And speaking of toothbrushes, make sure you are using a soft-bristled brush which will be much gentler on your teeth and gums.

  1. New to Flossing

If you’ve just decided to start flossing regularly, your gums may bleed a little at the beginning.  This is because the gum tissue is sensitive.  If the bleeding stops quickly and there is only a small amount of blood, give it a week and your gums should adjust and not bleed anymore when you floss.  If the bleeding continues, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist.  Even if there is some bleeding, the last thing you want to do is stop flossing.  In fact, the more you floss, the quicker the problem should resolve if it’s only a matter of toughening up your gums.

  1. Gingivitis

Bleeding gums can be one of the early signs of gingivitis, a common—and treatable—periodontal disease that causes inflammation of the gums.  Gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque and results in irritation and swelling at the base of your teeth.  Left untreated, gingivitis can turn into a more serious disease called periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss.  Gingivitis can be easily detected by your dentist or dental hygienist, so if you are visiting your dentist for a routine checkup and cleaning every six months, gingivitis will be detected early.  You want to identify gingivitis early because there are things you can do at home to reverse the problem.  Your dentist will help you come up with the best treatment plan for you, but to be sure at least part of that plan will include brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing at least once a day.

If you notice blood when you brush or floss your teeth, don’t just ignore it.  At Cornerstone Family Dentistry we would love to help you get to the root of the problem and find a treatment plan that works for you, so make an appointment with us today!