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September 21, 2023 4 min read
Do your ever experience bleeding when you are just trying to keep your teeth clean and healthy? The truth is, bleeding gums, also known as gingival bleeding, can be more than just a minor inconvenience. They might be signaling an underlying oral health issue or gum disease. Sometimes, brushing too hard may cause injury and inflammation and contribute to bleeding gums.
Bleeding gums is a common issue many people face. According to Scarsdale Dentists, 90% of the world’s population will occasionally experience bleeding gum at one point in their lives. If you ever notice a hint of red while brushing or flossing your teeth, gingivitis may be the underlying cause.
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease (periodontal disease). It causes inflammation of the gums and bleeds when you brush or floss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50% of adults aged 30 and older in the United States may experience this gum disease.
What causes gingivitis? Allowing food particles that turn to plaque to form on your teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria that release toxins that irritate the gum tissue. Over time, if you leave plaque buildup up without brushing or flossing properly, it can harden into tartar (calculus).
When your gum stores hardened plaque which houses large amounts of toxins, your body's natural response to these harmful bacteria will be inflammation, leaving them red, swollen, and tender to the touch. Inflammation also weakens blood vessels within your gums and causes gingival pockets to form. The result is that your gums will tear often, leading to bleeding since you may apply pressure while brushing or flossing.
If you do not have gum disease but still experience gingival bleeding, the problem may be from:
• Brushing too hard
• Not flossing regularly
• Medical conditions like diabetes, blood disorders, or vitamin deficiencies
• Hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy, menstruation and menopause
• Taking medications like thinners and anticoagulants
• Poor oral hygiene
When your gums start to bleed, don’t fret. A combination of proper oral hygiene, lifestyle adjustments, and, if necessary, professional intervention can help you stop gum bleeding. Use these tips to effectively stop gum bleeding.
1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Remember, poor oral hygiene can cause plaque on your gum, which introduces bacteria that cause gum inflammation and heightens your chances of gingival bleeding. Good oral hygiene can reduce this plaque buildup and help you avoid bacteria that cause inflammation along the gumline.
To improve your oral hygiene, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth gently, focusing on the gum line. Avoid aggressive brushing, as it can exacerbate bleeding. Also, learn to use proper brushing techniques. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use small, circular motions.
Don’t forget to floss daily with a water flosser to remove food particles that can cause plaque to form. Additionally, opt for a mild toothpaste that is gentle on your gums and contains fluoride to strengthen the tooth enamel and prevent cavities.
2. Rinse with an Antiseptic Mouthwash
Not just any antiseptic mouthwash. Use an antiseptic mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide. A study published in the National Library of Medicine reveals that rinsing with hydrogen peroxide can potentially reduce plaque, gingivitis, and oral bacteria, which cause bleeding gums. Hence, an antiseptic mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide targets and kills harmful bacteria in the mouth, helping you manage gum infections and stop bleeding.
Still, when purchasing an antiseptic mouthwash, ensure you get an alcohol-free product that is specifically designed for gum care. Then, rinse as directed on the product label or as recommended by your dentist.
3. Eat Balanced Diet
Although a balanced diet alone may not directly stop gum bleeding, it can contribute to healthier gums and support your body's natural healing processes, especially when you consume diets rich in vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and Zinc, and effectively stop gum bleeding.
Vitamin C promotes collagen production and strengthens blood vessels. When you take them, they strengthen the connective tissue that protects the lining of your gums. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts can also help reduce inflammation, while nutrients like vitamin A and zinc can help you maintain and repair gum tissues that rupture when they get inflamed. Don’t forget to limit sugary snacks and beverages, as sugar can contribute to plaque buildup.
4. Quit Smoking
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that smoking can harm oral health and cause gum bleeding. Smoking irritates the gum tissue and makes them more susceptible to inflammation and bleeding. It also restricts blood flow, hindering the gums' ability to heal and fight bacteria. When you quit smoking, blood circulation improves, allowing better oxygen and nutrient delivery to the gum tissue, promoting gum healing.
5. Reduce Stress Levels
Stress can lead to certain oral habits like teeth grinding (bruxism) or clenching. These habits can put additional pressure on the gums and contribute to gum irritation and bleeding.
One research suggests that stress can contribute to unhealthy behaviors like smoking and poor diet, two risk factors for gum disease. As stress levels increase, you may neglect your oral hygiene routines or opt for unhealthy coping mechanisms like tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption. To reduce stress and avoid gum bleeding, practice stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
A healthy gum is not just about being comfortable smiling in public. It is about safeguarding your overall health. Healthy gums contribute to better digestion, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and improved general well-being. So, if you notice your gums bleeding, it may be due to poor oral hygiene or gum disease. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eating a balanced diet, saying no to smoking, using an antiseptic mouthwash, and managing stress can positively impact your gum health more than you know.