Almost everyone has encountered gum bleeding at one time or another. However, this phenomenon is usually quite rare for those who keep their mouths healthy through diligent daily care and regular visits to their dentist. A spot of red or pink on the toothbrush or dental floss can be a shock – especially if you notice copious amounts of blood. Here is information on what causes bleeding gums, if the problem is serious, and what you can do about it.
Damage to Living Tissue
Your gums, also known as gingiva, are living tissue. They are also very vascular, meaning there is plenty of blood flowing through your gums. Healthy gums appear as a rosy pink colour. However, gums that are diseased may appear pale, dark red, or even purplish.
Your gums are also soft tissue. They are sensitive to damage and can be harmed through accidents or even overly-aggressive dental care. You might see some bleeding if you accidentally poke your gums with a dental pick or brush too hard. Bleeding resulting from minor injuries like these is usually no cause for concern and should resolve in a day or two. Of course, contact your dentist if you have concerns or if the bleeding persists.
Bacteria are another common cause of bleeding gums. When harmful bacteria infect and inflame your gums, bleeding is often a consequence. Gum bleeding of this nature may go on for many days or even weeks, and it should always be brought to the attention of your dentist. Along with bleeding, you may also notice gum soreness, bad breath, abscesses, or ulcers.
When gum bleeding is the result of bacterial action, it may require professional dental care to resolve. Your dentist may do a “deep cleaning,” also called a scaling and root planing, prescribe antibiotics or a clinical-strength mouthwash, or even recommend a visit to a specialist. The sooner you let your dentist know about persistent bleeding gums, the better your outcome is likely to be.
The best way to prevent gum bleeding is simply through consistent at-home oral care. Floss daily, brush twice daily, and use an antiseptic mouthwash. You should always be gentle when brushing. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. This type of toothbrush is able to clean between your teeth and around your gums better than a stiff-bristled brush. Furthermore, a soft-bristled brush is less likely to abrade your gums and cause bleeding.
For further information or concerns about bleeding gums, just give your dentist a call.