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Maida Smiles (W. London)

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28 Jul

Bleeding gums: What causes them and what to do.


If you ever notice some bleeding while you are brushing your teeth, you need to visit your dentist.

Bleeding gums can be a sign that you have or may be prone to developing gum disease. Even a small amount of blood should not be ignored. Your dentist will be able to find the cause of your bleeding gums and will be able to treat you accordingly. It is better to spot and treat bleeding gums as early as you first see it.

When you next brush your teeth, spend some time looking at your gums as well as your teeth; they’re just as important! Healthy gums should be firm and pink and, most importantly, should not bleed when you are flossing or brushing or touching them.

What causes bleeding gums?

The main cause of bleeding gums is the buildup of plaque on the gum line. Plaque that is not removed will harden into tartar. Over time this will lead to inflamed, swollen gums or a condition called gingivitis.

Bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. It is a common and mild form of gum disease. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become irritated, swollen, and red. They may begin to bleed most when you brush your teeth.

Poor oral hygiene is the number one cause for bleeding gums. Following a good oral hygiene routine will help you avoid bacteria or plaque buildup that will result in bleeding gums. As well as poor oral hygiene, there are a number of causes that can increase your personal risk of developing bleeding gums and further oral issues. Other causes of bleeding gums include:

  • Any bleeding disorders
  • Brushing too hard
  • Improper flossing
  • Infection of either the tooth or the gum
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy

Visiting your dentist immediately when you notice any signs of bleeding will help them treat what is causing your gums to bleed.

What is gum disease?

Although the term gum disease sounds very scary, it is actually very common. It is a condition where the gums become sore, infected or swollen. As common as it may be, you do however, need to do all that you can to avoid getting it. The earliest form of gum disease is called Gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible but if it is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis which is an irreversible gum disease that can lead to tooth loss and gum recession.

Unfortunately, often gum disease will go undetected. As there aren’t always obvious, painful signs that you will be noticed with it. This is why it is important to attend your regular dental checkups, you may have gum disease and not even know it.

Prevention is better than cure 

You can treat mild cases of gum disease by attending regular check-ups with your dentist and maintaining recommended oral hygiene routines. This includes flossing once a day and brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. As gum disease isn’t always linked to painful symptoms, you should always be vigilant to check your own mouth regularly.

We recommend booking an appointment with a dental hygienist at least every six months. They will remove any hardened plaque which can cause bleeding gums. They will also show you some great tips on the best ways to clean your teeth properly to prevent gum disease.