Bleeding gums can be scary. It is not normal for any part of the body to bleed without any noticeable injury. Bleeding gums is a common problem faced by many people, especially those who have avoided going to the dentist throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In this article, we will explain the various causes of bleeding gums and what you can do about them.
Bleeding in the gums has a single underlying cause, and it is always inflammation. There are a variety of factors that can increase the level of inflammation in the gum tissues, and these are what we will focus on as the causes of bleeding.
Technically, it is the bacteria living within dental plaque that cause inflammation rather than the plaque itself. These bacteria produce toxins that penetrate into the surrounding gum tissues. The body’s natural response to these toxins is acute inflammation. Acute inflammation alerts you that there is a problem. In the gum tissues, acute inflammation causes redness, swelling, tenderness, and a tendency to bleed easily.
Dry mouth alone does not cause inflammation, but it can contribute in a few ways. First, a dry mouth tends to collect more dental plaque than a healthy, moist mouth. The plaque becomes stickier and more difficult to remove.
A dry mouth could also indicate dehydration. A state of dehydration also increases your risk of overall inflammation in the body.
We commonly see inflamed and bleeding gums in patients who are undergoing puberty, pregnancy or menopause. These wide swings in hormone levels do not cause the inflammation, but they do make the gums much more sensitive to any irritation. This means that with even the tiniest amount of dental plaque present, they will suffer severe inflammation.
In order to stop bleeding gums, you must manage the underlying cause of inflammation. There are several ways to do this at home and with the help of a dental professional. Follow these steps to reduce your risk for bleeding in the gums.
The purpose of oral hygiene at home is to remove dental plaque from the teeth. We do this through brushing and flossing with both consistency and effectiveness.
When you skip your oral hygiene or do it haphazardly, you may not remove all the dental plaque from your teeth. That leaves you at risk for inflammation and bleeding gums. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for tips on how you can improve your daily routine. Watch instructional videos like those listed here to learn how to perform the tasks of brushing and flossing with the best plaque removing ability.
If you have a dry mouth, you have a much higher risk for inflammation in the gums than someone with a normal mouth. You must take additional measures to lubricate your mouth, hydrate yourself, and protect your gum tissues.
First of all, you should work on your beverage intake. Anyone with a dry mouth should focus on drinking only plain water. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and high-sugar drinks like sodas and sports drinks. Those actually pull water out of your system and dehydrate you!
For a short-term benefit, you can rinse your mouth up to five times daily with a warm salt water mouthwash. Salt water has been proven to reduce inflammation and fight infection. Mix about a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. Gently swish it around your mouth for one to two minutes.
Again, this is only a temporary solution that will not “heal” any active gum disease, which is why the following step is so essential.
Bleeding gums always indicates inflammation. Most of the time, there is plaque buildup or other bacterial problems in the mouth causing the inflammation. You can lower the risk for bleeding gums by taking the previous steps, but if you have any active gum disease, you must see your dentist.
Unfortunately, gum disease will not simply go away. You must have dental treatment to remove all of the underlying bacterial buildup and help you reach a clean and healthy state of the mouth again.
Call Rockland Dental Specialists today to schedule a consultation with one of our periodontists. These gum experts can address any questions you have about gum disease in general or assess your specific situation. Call us at (845) 259-2500 or complete our online contact form today!