A lot of people experience bleeding gums when they brush their teeth at some point in their lives, but this doesn't mean it's normal or healthy. Here, our Nepean dentists explain what causes bleeding gums when brushing and when you should be worried.
Bleeding Gums - What are they and what do they mean?
Contrary to what some people might believe, bleeding gums are not a normal consequence of brushing your teeth.
Still, many Canadians notice their gums bleeding after brushing and simply brush it off. This is generally a mistake. It is best to take prompt action as quickly as possible to address bleeding or inflamed gums, whether they are currently causing you pain or not.
Understanding Causation - How could I end up with bleeding gums?
Occasionally bleeding gums can sometimes be a result of some sort of physical irritation to the mouth, such as dentures. However, more frequent gum bleeding can be a sign of more serious conditions or dental care issues, such as gum disease.
Gingivitis & Periodontitis - What are they and what do they have to do with bleeding gums?
When you don’t brush and floss correctly, plaque builds up on the gum line and can harden into tartar at an accelerated rate. Gingivitis - the first stage of gum disease - can cause your gums to become puffy and sore, and eventually bleed. Gingivitis can progress into more serious diseases.
The second, more serious stage of gum disease is periodontitis, which is an infection of the tissues and bones that connect your teeth and gums, and can eventually cause bone and tooth loss. Oftentimes progression to this point can lead to certain teeth having to be removed as a part of treatment.
Bleeding While Brushing - What should I do next if my gums bleed during brushing?
You should visit your dentist at the very first sign of bleeding gums after brushing. However, there are some things you can do at home to help preserve the health of your gums:
- Brush after each meal and before bed with a soft toothbrush and gentle fluoride toothpaste. You may experience increased bleeding at first, but the extra attention to oral hygiene can help the bleeding gums heal more efficiently in the longer run.
- Rinse thoroughly with an anti-gingivitis, alcohol-free mouthwash. You can pick up a mouthwash that fits this description at your local pharmacy. Ask the pharmacist if you're unsure what you're looking for.
- See your dentist every 6 months and let them know of any changes, soreness, or sensitivity. Nothing is more effective than regular checkups with a professional when it comes to ensuring good oral health. Your dentist will not only provide a cleaning but also fully investigate to make sure your mouth is not currently afflicted by any manner of oral diseases - including gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Floss a minimum of once per day. Be sure to keep your floss somewhere highly visible, to help increase your likelihood of remembering to floss and protect your dental hygiene.
- Consider an electric toothbrush to help you clean your mouth more easily. Many electric toothbrushes have sensors to help communicate when you've done enough brushing, which is yet another reason using them often correlates with having fewer dental health problems.