Gums can bleed for any number of reasons. This article discusses bleeding gums, causes and treatment, so you know what action to take should it happen to you. Let’s get started.
Are bleeding gums concerning?
Before you panic and start phoning an emergency dentist, let us reassure you that sometimes gums bleed when you brush and floss your teeth. Actually, it’s pretty common. What isn’t normal, however, is when your gums are bleeding every time you brush and floss your teeth. Moreover, there is cause for concern when random bleeding occurs without applying pressure or force. If you experience random or excessive bleeding, you should treat it as a dental emergency and visit an emergency dentist for diagnosis and treatment.
What do bleeding gums indicate?
One of the most common causes of bleeding gums is gum disease. 3 in 10 Australian adults have moderate to severe gum disease. When bleeding occurs now and again during brushing and flossing, it generally means the gums need better oral hygiene. However, if the bleeding is excessive, random, or chronic, it most likely means you have gingivitis or periodontitis (more severe gum disease). Bleeding gums can also be caused by an infection, such as a cavity or an abscess. If you suspect you have an infection, you should always consider it a dental emergency and seek urgent help from an emergency dentist. If left untreated, a dental infection can spread to the body leading to potentially life-threatening complications.
Other bleeding gums causes include:
- Dentures that fit too tightly – Speak to your dentist if your dentures are causing your gums to bleed. They may need to take another impression to create a better-fitting appliance.
- Pregnancy is another common cause of bleeding gums. Hormones change during pregnancy, making the gums more sensitive.
- Bleeding disorders like hemophilia and deficiency of Vitamins C and K can also cause the gums to bleed. The gums may also bleed if you take blood-thinning medication, including aspirin and warfarin. Speak to your doctor for advice.
What can an emergency dentist do?
The first course of action for any dental emergency is a thorough examination to determine the problem.
Emergency dentists will inspect the teeth and gums, take x-rays and clean the mouth of blood to determine the causes of bleeding gums. In many cases, the bleeding is due to gum disease.
The treatment is likely to be dental cleaning and scaling combined with root planing to help get rid of any infection within the gums.
The dentist may also prescribe an oral mouthwash to help reduce inflammation and infection. Finally, they will recommend a follow-up appointment with your regular dentist to ensure your gums are healing and returning to good health.
How to stop bleeding gums at home
As we’ve already said, unless the bleeding is excessive, it’s not usually a dental emergency, but you should still visit your dentist sooner rather than later. Once you know the cause of the bleeding, you can do a few things at home to stop the bleeding.
- Practice good oral hygiene. Gums typically bleed when plaque builds up along the gum line. If you don’t brush and floss thoroughly, the bacteria can spread, causing tooth decay or gum disease. To improve oral hygiene, patients should brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice daily and floss once.
- Disinfect the mouth with hydrogen peroxide – Rinsing with hydrogen peroxide helps remove plaque, improves gum health, and stops the gums from bleeding. Rinse after brushing, but do not swallow the liquid.
- Quit smoking – Smoking is linked to severe gum disease (periodontitis), according to the Australian Dental Association, as it lowers the body’s immune system, making it harder for the body to fight plaque bacteria. Quitting smoking will stop the bleeding and help your gums heal.
- Reduce stress levels – Emotional stress could be another one of the causes of bleeding gums, according to one study. It’s thought that emotional stress leads people to neglect their oral health. Find out 15 simple ways to relieve stress.
Never ignore bleeding gums. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Excessive or chronic bleeding should always be treated as a dental emergency. However, if your gums bleed now and again when you brush and floss your teeth, the treatment is usually to improve your oral hygiene with more thorough brushing and flossing. Regular appointments with the hygienist will help you stay on track with good gum health. If your gums are bleeding, our experienced dentists can help. Call Synergy Dental Group on (03) 7003 2185 or book online. We’re currently offering a New Patient Check Up & Clean Package Gap Free or $149 for a limited time, so don’t miss out.
Health Direct – Gum Disease
Healthline – Is it Possible to Die from a Tooth Infection?
Teeth.org – Smoking and Vaping
PubMed Central – Stress and Periodontal Disease – The Link and Logic