Ugh, My Gums Are Bleeding! What Should I Do Now?
Picture this: You are getting ready for work, jamming to your favorite song, dancing around the bathroom, and you are brushing your teeth. A little weird, I know, but stay with me for a second! You get to your favorite part of the song and you spit your mouthful of toothpaste into the sink (I know it’s gross, but everybody does it!) so that you can belt out the lyrics with the gusto of the Grammys. That is when you see it…blood mixed in with your toothpaste. What? How did that get there? You forget all about the chorus and begin a thorough examination of your gums and teeth.
What do you see? Red, swollen gums? Loose teeth? Sores in your mouth? More importantly, what is causing these symptoms to appear and how can you get rid of them quickly? Bleeding gums is a regular complaint at most dentist offices. While most of the time it is not a serious problem, it can be a little unnerving for patients. If you are experiencing bleeding gums, keep reading to get more information about the causes and treatment of bleeding gums and get some ideas for prevention in the future.
What Causes Bleeding Gums
Hopefully, the amount of blood that you see when brushing is minimal and sporadic. If this is the case, the common causes can be as simple as brushing too hard or brushing with a hard toothbrush. Other common causes to look at are medications that have bleeding gums as a side effect, dentures that are ill-fitting, or even pregnancy hormones can be an underlying source.
If you are seeing blood on a regular basis, and your gums are sore and swollen, this may be a sign of a more serious problem. Gingivitis is a mild inflammation of the gums and is caused by plaque buildup. Gingivitis is considered a common condition, and the solution is simple. The next step of gingivitis is not so easy to treat. Advanced gingivitis is called periodontitis, a disease of the gums that damages both the tissue around the teeth and the bone that holds the teeth in place. Periodontal disease must be treated by a dentist to avoid losing your teeth.
How to Treat Bleeding Gums
Now that we know all about the causes of bleeding gums, let’s get to the important stuff. How do I get them to stop!? As you may have guessed, treatment for bleeding gums depends on the cause and severity. Take a look at some of the causes we have discussed already. If it is your medication causing your issues, you will want to talk to your doctor about stopping the medication or switching to a new one. If you are pregnant, you know that your condition will probably stop after your baby is born (you should still mention it to your dentist at your next cleaning!). Is it your toothbrush? Are you too vigorous with your brushing? Both of these things are very easy to remedy.
If you feel like you may have gingivitis or periodontitis, you will want to see your dentist for a check-up. A cleaning may be in order to remove the buildup from below the gum line. Your dentist will assess the damage and let you know what treatment will be best for you. It is important to get an appointment as soon as possible so that you can avoid major problems such as a root canal or an extraction. While you are waiting for your appointment, make sure you are brushing your teeth after each meal, flossing at least once a day and you may try using a mouthwash that targets gingivitis.
Good daily health care goes a long way in making sure that you do not get gingivitis or periodontal disease.
Try these steps to prevent bleeding gums:
- Take time to brush your teeth thoroughly.
- Use a dental floss or dental irrigation system to deep clean between teeth.
- Stay away from super sweet drinks and food that can cause bacteria to grow rapidly.
- Stop smoking. The toxins in tobacco cause inflammation of the gums.
- Do not share drinks, food or toothbrushes. Gum disease is contagious.
- Do eat nutritional foods filled with Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Calcium for healthy teeth and gums.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash daily.
- Keep scheduled bi-annual appointments with your dentist.
Bleeding gums are very common, but they don’t have to be. Taking care of your teeth and gums is so important to overall health, so don’t let brushing and flossing be at the end of your priority list. Now, put those headphones back on and get to brushing!