Bleeding gums are a cautionary sign, don’t ignore it!
Bleeding gums can lead to serious complications, and can even cause teeth loss in more severe cases. However, the advancement of the disease can be stopped by proper treatment and a bit of care. If you are curious what trivial things or serious diseases may cause bleeding gums, read our article below, where we sum up the reasons in three bullet points in a brief and logical way.
The reasons behind bleeding gums
It is usually true that everyone has experienced a bit of bleeding after brushing teeth. But what is causing this? Three main problems may be the origin of these symptoms.
#1 Incorrect tools or technique
The most simple reason is a toothbrush that is too hard; or incorrect, too harsh brushing technique. In this case, bleeding is caused by a mechanical injury, which is not present during each tooth brushing. The sensitivity of the gums varies a lot from person to person. There are people who have no problems brushing with the hardest toothbrushes, and there are people whose gums bleed using the softest. However, it is important to distinguish between bleeding caused by the toothbrush and bleeding caused by diseases or inflammation, about which you may read further below.
Gum bleeding is most commonly a symptom of gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums (or gingiva). What are the causes of gingivitis?
In short: improper oral hygiene, or incorrect tooth brushing.
Dental plaque is the hardest to remove from the tooth neck, the area closest to the gums. Dental plaque that is not completely removed can be a hotbed for bacteria. In time, calcium and other minerals can also be built into the plaque. This is called tartar, which serves as a ‘hiding place’ for bacteria, as well as push the gum up from the teeth.
This causes a defence mechanism against the bacteria to begin in the gums: inflammation.
The gum becomes swollen, red and will bleed easily. The teeth may loosen, and the blood that remains in the mouth can cause bacteria to further multiple, which leads to unpleasant breath (more about unpleasant breath). Untreated gingivitis may spread to the jaw and lead to teeth loss. Not to scare anyone, but it can also lead to further diseases that involve the whole body, like heart disease or joint problems.
Bleeding gums can also be an accompanying symptom of certain conditions, or because of certain minerals or vitamins not being present in sufficient quantities. It can be caused by a lack of vitamins C and/or K, although the lack of vitamin C is uncommon nowadays.
Diabetes can also be a contributing factor, because it causes the immune system to weaken and slows the healing process.
People who suffer from bleeding disorders, or those who take anticoagulants may also experience bleeding gums.
Capillaries may expand during puberty, pregnancy or menopause due to hormonal changes, increasing the risk of bleeding. People who smoke need to pay close attention to their oral hygiene, because problems may remain hidden. Smoking causes the veins in the gum to contract, which lowers the risk of bleeding, but the inflammation can still be present deeper down.
First, correct tooth brushing technique with a proper toothbrush, as well as flossing.
Always wash the bleeding gum (and the surrounding area), don’t avoid it.
Change the toothbrush every 2-3 months.
It is also important to wash the tongue, as bacteria can multiply there too.
Our dentists are happy to show you the correct technique and give you professional advice.
There are special toothpaste products can effectively remove bacteria and help contract capillaries in the gums. Regular tartar removal and dental screening are also important.
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