concerned patient asking dentist about gum pain and bleeding when flossing

Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

If you’ve noticed blood in your saliva when you brush or floss your teeth, you may be concerned. Here’s what you need to know about bleeding gums – from minor irritations to serious medical conditions.

What Causes Gums to Bleed?

From minor irritations to serious conditions, there’s a wide range of explanations for bleeding gums. Here are some of the most common causes that we encounter:

  • Sensitive gums
    Brushing your teeth too vigorously or with a hard-bristled brush can irritate your gums and cause them to bleed. Similarly, your gums will likely bleed when you floss if it’s not a regular part of your oral hygiene routine.

  • Dentures
    If your dentures are too tight, they can cause irritation, sores and bleeding gums. Your dentist will either need to make adjustments or make another impression.

  • Gum disease
    Bleeding gums may be a sign of gum disease. An accumulation of plaque around the gum line can infect the tissue and lead to sensitive, swollen and bleeding gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease that eventually leads to tooth loss.

  • Vitamin deficiency
    If your bleeding gums aren’t caused by a dental problem, it may be a sign that your diet lacks vitamin C (found in a variety of fruits and vegetables) or vitamin K (found in spinach, kale and other leafy greens).

Additionally, you’ll be more at risk for bleeding gums if you regularly take blood-thinning medication or have a blood disorder. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can also make your gums more sensitive and prone to bleeding.

 

Options for Treatment

Occasional and minor gum bleeding caused by vigorous brushing or infrequent flossing isn’t a cause for concern. It simply indicates that you need to make adjustments to your oral care routine. If you think ill-fitting dentures are to blame, consult your dentist.

Frequent or severe gum bleeding, however, shouldn’t be dismissed. Schedule an appointment  with your dentist as soon as possible, especially if the bleeding is accompanied by other signs of gum disease. If your dentist rules out an oral health problem as the cause of your bleeding gums, then you should consult with your family doctor.

 

Prevention is Key

The primary way to take care of your gums is to follow a proper oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth twice a day to remove plaque, and use a soft-bristled brush to avoid irritating your gums. You should also floss daily to keep your gums healthy and strong. Be sure to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined twice a year. This will allow your dentist to remove tartar and watch for early signs of gum disease.

 

Visit Your Family Dentist in SE Calgary

At Forest Lawn Dental Centre, we offer a variety of general and cosmetic dentistry treatments to keep your teeth, gums and mouth as healthy as can be! Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your or your family at our clinic in SE Calgary.

 

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