Bleeding gums indicate inflammation, irritation, or infection, especially when associated with brushing and flossing. Many patients believe that all people’s gums bleed during dental visits or when flossing the teeth, but this is a myth or misconception. Healthy gums do not bleed easily and generally will not start bleeding with just flossing or brushing the teeth. During checkups with a family dentist, the gums may bleed slightly depending on how well the patient’s at-home oral hygiene habits are, but significant bleeding indicates a problem.
Gums bleed for a number of reasons. Occasionally, the gums become irritated, usually from consuming something overly acidic (e.g. fruit, juice) or from eating very crunchy foods (e.g. certain cereals or potato chips). The gums will usually heal fast, and can be assisted by the use of warm salt water to rinse several times a day. More serious circumstances involve gum disease or periodontal disease. In these cases, the gums become inflamed and swell slightly. When the patient brushes or flosses, pressure on the gums causes them to start bleeding.
If left untreated, gum disease can advance to stages that involve tooth loss and other negative side effects.
Gums that bleed should be treated by a family dentist or other specialist to ensure the situation improves. If left untreated, gum disease can advance to stages that involve tooth loss and other negative side effects. In situations where the bleeding gums are only slightly inflamed, many patients can improve the gums simply by engaging in daily flossing, with good technique, and twice-daily brushing, as well as the use of quality toothpaste and mouth rinse products to boost oral health.
If the gums become infected, the infection has a direct link to the blood stream through the blood within the gum tissue. This means the infection can spread throughout the body and create problems elsewhere, including heart problems. Bleeding gums should be taken seriously and patients should visit their dentist promptly if bleeding persists.
For more information on improving oral health or to schedule your next visit, contact Family Smiles Dental Group today!