Bleeding gums is an issue that affects many people, but it doesn’t mean that it is something normal. If you see blood when brushing your teeth it may be an indicator of a disease that could affect your oral health.
There are different problems that could make your gums bleed, most of the time it is caused by bad oral hygiene or hurting yourself by brushing your teeth strong, but it could be a more complex issue, like vitamin k deficiency, diabetes, or some other health conditions.
So, if you see your gum bleeding during the day, while you brush your teeth or when eating hard food, the best thing to do is visit a dentist as soon as possible to receive a diagnosis and prevent major issues like gum infection or gum disease.
Keeping your gums nice and healthy is important to enjoy a nice smile and take care of your overall health.
What does bleeding gums mean?
The most common cause of bleeding gums is plaque buildup in the gum line caused by bad oral hygiene.
Our gums act like a barrier that protects our teeth, tooth roots, and bone from plaque, bacteria, and tartar.
When the plaque builds up it allows bacteria growth on the deep gum tissue causing gum bleeding.
In its early stages, this issue is called gingivitis and it is a problem that affects most patients.
Gingivitis can be caused by bad dental hygiene, as we just mentioned, or other infections.
You should be really careful because if it is not treated in time it can develop into periodontal disease, a severe gum disease that not only affects your teeth and gums but your body’s immune system.
Some signs of early gum disease are swollen and bleeding gums; patients could also feel discomfort when eating food that is too cold or hot.
The best way to prevent gingivitis is to have a good oral hygiene routine and, of course, visit your dentist regularly to get a deep dental cleaning.
What is the difference between gum disease and periodontal disease
Gum disease is a problem caused by plaque accumulation in the gum line, it causes inflammation and gum bleeding.
That blood we see when brushing our teeth is the way our mouth tells us that we may have gum disease, that we should pay more attention to oral hygiene, and that it is time for a dental cleaning.
Periodontal disease or periodontitis is gum disease in a very advanced stage, it causes receding gums, and tooth decay and there is scientific evidence that links periodontal disease with health diseases that affect the immune system and the heart.
That is why it is very important to visit your dentists if you notice any sign of gum disease, like gum inflammation, bleeding, sensitive gums, and pain or discomfort when eating.
Regular brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent gum disease so be sure to have a good oral hygiene routine and clean your teeth at least twice a day.
Other reasons that may be causing your gums to bleed
There are some other reasons that could be causing bleeding gums. So, if you practice good oral hygiene but still notice gum bleeding when you brush or floss, one of these things may be the cause.
Brushing your teeth strongly. When you brush your teeth too hard or use hard bristles toothbrushes it can give you minor mouth injuries and cause bleeding gums. These injuries could lead to gum infections, so be gentle when brushing.
Diabetes. Bleeding gums and gum disease could be a sign of diabetes since it is harder for the body to fight infections when sugar levels are high. Patients with diabetes should also pay special attention to their gum health to prevent gum infections.
Vitamin deficiencies. Vitamin k and vitamin c deficiency could cause bleeding gums, so it is important to visit your doctor to have an overall review. It is always a good idea to take vitamin c supplements, but if you need more vitamin k, your doctor needs to prescribe it.
Blood thinners or a specific medication. People who take medicine to thin the blood to treat a certain medical condition may see their gums bleed occasionally.
Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes can cause gingivitis, it is very common during pregnancy and in patients with emotional stress.
What can I do if I have bleeding gums?
The first thing to do to stop bleeding gums is to have a good dental hygiene routine. Brush at least twice every day, especially after meals.
Use antiseptic mouthwash and dental floss to get rid of food debris. Just by changing your habits, you can improve the state of your mouth’s health.
Flossing regularly is the key to prevent gum bleeding because it removes the plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, avoiding plaque buildup and inflammation.
If you have gum bleeding due to gingivitis, the solution will be to visit the dentist to get a professional dental cleaning and remove plaque buildup.
The cleaning will reduce gum bleeding and by brushing and flossing on a daily basis you will see how the problem fades away.
In case you have periodontitis, your dentist will suggest the best treatment for your case. Sometimes a deep cleaning will be more than enough, but in some severe cases, the doctor will prescribe medication or proceed with a specific treatment.
As periodontal disease can cause receding gums, the dentist could recommend gum grafting, to improve the appearance of the smile.
It is important to take note that the rate of success will depend on how early the patient decides to treat their condition.
Oral health tips to prevent bleeding gums
Here are some tips that will help you prevent and stop bleeding gums.
Be gentle when brushing your teeth
Bleeding gums could mean that you are being overly aggressive with your brushing. Keep in mind that gentle strokes are the way to go to remove more plaque, especially if you are using electric toothbrushes.
There is no need to bash away and scrub really hard to clean your teeth. Inadequate plaque removal will only hurt you and leave you with sensitive gums.
Slow brushing, using dental floss, and mouth wash is the best course of action to reduce bacteria, remove plaque and get a beautiful white smile.
Smoking is terrible for your oral health and it could be what is causing your gums to bleed; it causes cancer, and heart diseases and makes it harder for your body to fight infections, which can lead to gum disease.
Quitting smoking will be as good for your mouth as it is for your overall health.
Increase your vitamin intake
As mentioned before, low vitamin levels can cause bleeding gums so even when it is possible to take supplements, it is very important to keep a diet rich in vitamins, especially vitamin c and vitamin k.
You can find vitamin C in a lot of foods like oranges, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and vitamin K can be found in all green vegetables so it is not hard to get your vitamins in a completely natural way.
Don’t forget to brush after eating starchy foods and sweets
In the mouth, starch and sugar transform into acid that damages the enamel and causes tooth loss and gum problems. So it is important to always brush and floss after eating processed foods.
Natural remedies to stop bleeding gums
If you practice good dental hygiene but still see a little blood when brushing these natural methods could help.
Use water with salt to rinse your mouth. The salt has anti-inflammatory effects that could help stop bleeding gums. You only need to use a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of salt and rinse your mouth as you would with regular mouthwash.
Rinse with coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for your mouth since it can reduce bacteria that is soluble in oil but not in water. It is also a natural antioxidant that will make your gums stop bleeding and will help you prevent tooth loss.
Use one tablespoon of the oil to rinse your mouth once or twice a day. You will notice how it improves the condition of your gums in no time.
What to do if the gums are bleeding because of an injury?
Sometimes the bleeding in the gums is caused by an injury in the gum tissue, which could be because of an accident, because of a dental procedure, or surgery. Using a small ice pack on the affected area will stop the blood flow and create a blood clot.
If you had dental surgery it is important to rest and don’t touch the area of the blood clot to avoid bleeding. In case you see excessive bleeding you should go to the dentist or doctor to completely restrict blood flow with stitches.
If the injury is small, ice will be good to stop bleeding gums. Once the bleeding has stopped, you can gently wash your mouth or do an oral salt rinse.