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October 18, 2023 4 min read
Let’s face it – gum bleeding is common for many people. Hence, it may not seem like a major concern. What most people don't know is those seemingly insignificant bleeding gums could impact their overall health. It's no surprise that the recent Global Oral Health Status Report published by WHO reveals that almost half of the world’s population (45% or 3.5 billion people) suffer from oral diseases that cause gum bleeding.
Before your bleeding gums pose a significant challenge to your oral health, in this guide, we will explore the warning signs your gums may exhibit and the best treatment options to restore your gum health.
Bleeding of Gums occurs due to various reasons. Your gums may bleed when you brush too hard or with a firm brush. Brushing too hard and with a hard toothbrush brush applies pressure to gum tissues, which in turn, damages them and causes bleeding. You may also experience bleeding gum if you take medications like blood thinners.
Taking blood thinners reduces your blood's ability to clot, which leads to prolonged bleeding and makes your gums more prone to bleeding. Even minor trauma, like brushing your teeth or flossing too hard can result in bleeding that takes longer to stop. On the other hand, a lack of essential vitamins, particularly vitamin C, can weaken gum tissues and lead to bleeding.
Regardless, the primary causes of bleeding gums are gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, which occur when plaque builds up and introduces bacterial growth, causing the gum to become irritated, inflamed, and bleed when brushing or flossing. The question is, how do you detect gum diseases besides bleeding gums so you can treat them before they become a significant oral health issue?
As mentioned earlier, gum disease can range from mild (gingivitis) to severe (periodontitis), and bleeding gums is only the first sign you may have gum disease. To ensure you treat your gums and teeth early and prevent their progression, here are some warning signs to look out for:
1. Redness and Swelling
Gums should be pink and firm. If your gums appear red, swollen, or tender, it could indicate inflammation, which weakens your gum tissue and cause the blood vessels in the gums to become more fragile. The result is that they become swollen and irritated, leaving them more prone to bleeding easily, especially when you brush, floss, or eat.
2. Bad Breath
Also known as halitosis, bad breath indicates poor gum and oral health. People experience bad breath when they fail to practice good oral hygiene, like brushing before sleeping. In such instances, you indirectly welcome bacteria to form in the pockets between your teeth and gums. Over time, this can lead to bad breath that doesn’t go away even after brushing or using mouthwash.
3. Receding Gums
Receding gums, also known as gingival recession, occurs when the gum tissue surrounding your teeth begins to pull back or wear away, exposing more of the tooth’s surface and, in some cases, even the tooth’s root. When this happens, it creates gaps or pockets between the teeth and gums, making it easier for bacteria to accumulate.
Receding gums can lead to various oral health issues, including increased tooth sensitivity and possible tooth decay due to exposed tooth roots. However, it could also be a sign of gum disease and may cause your gum to bleed.
4. Painful Chewing
Remember, when pockets or gaps form on your teeth, it traps food particles and creates an environment where bacteria and irritation are welcome. However, left untreated, it may cause discomfort and pain, especially when eating hard or crunchy foods. This pain you experience while eating may also be a sign of an underlying disease and can cause your gum to bleed.
If you constantly notice that your gums bleed whenever you eat, brush, or floss, the first treatment option is to practice proper oral hygiene. That means brushing your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush.
Also, ensure you gently clean your tongue and use dental floss like water flossers or interdental brushes to clean between your teeth. More than this, healthy lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and eating a well-balanced meal rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can stop mild gum bleeding.
If gum bleeding persists, schedule a dental checkup for professional cleaning and comprehensive oral exams. A dentist will be able to identify early signs of gum issues and provide appropriate guidance.
In more severe cases when your dentist detects periodontitis as the cause of bleeding gum rather than gingivitis, they may recommend using antibiotics to treat bacterial infection or suggest treatments such as scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline.
Bleeding of gums might be easy to dismiss, but you should never ignore them since they can significantly impact your oral health. Whether you notice redness, swelling, pains while chewing, tooth loss and decay, or bad breath, your gum deserves as much care and attention as other parts of your body. So, take proactive steps to prioritize your oral hygiene and seek professional treatment options for bleeding gums from your dentist if your gum disease symptoms persist.