Some people's gums are more prone to bleeding than others, but if your gums bleed often, you should visit your dentist for a check-up and advice. That's because bleeding gums can sometimes be a sign of gum disease or other oral health and general health problems.
Gingivitis (gum disease)
If your gums are bleeding, sore or swollen and you have bad breath, you could have gingivitis. This is the early stage of gum disease – the inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria that grow on the teeth. The advanced stage of gum disease is periodontitis, which can lead to permanent damage or even tooth loss.
If your dentist diagnoses gum disease, they may recommend oral hygiene treatments such as teeth cleaning and scaling or root planing to remove bacteria from your teeth and gums, as well as a fluoride treatment to offer further protection.
Gum disease may be treated or prevented by maintaining good oral hygiene at home – by brushing and flossing correctly, avoiding sugary food and drink and drinking plenty of water. Your dentist may also recommend using an antibacterial mouthwash.
Improper brushing and flossing
Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is important for healthy teeth and gums, but bad technique or using the wrong type of toothbrush can cause gums to bleed.
If you have sensitive gums, try a soft-bristled toothbrush rather than a medium or firm toothbrush. Brush your teeth and gums gently to avoid causing irritation.
Flossing can sometimes cause gums to bleed if you're not used to it. Flossing with care every day should help your gums to adjust and prevent further bleeding.
Gums can bleed for a short time following dental treatments, especially procedures involving oral surgery and making incisions in the gum. This bleeding should only be temporary and can be managed by applying pressure to the site with gauze or a clean cloth.
If dental bleeding won't stop, make an emergency appointment with your dentist or go to your nearest emergency room.
Dry mouth syndrome is a condition that's more common in seniors, especially if you smoke, drink heavily or use certain medications. When saliva flow is reduced, your teeth and gums are more vulnerable to bacteria. This can lead to gum disease or irritated and bleeding gums.
Visit your dentist if your mouth is often dry or you have trouble swallowing.
Health conditions or medication
Bleeding gums can sometimes be a symptom of a bacterial, fungal or viral infection or certain systemic conditions such as erythema multiforme or lupus erythematosus.
Anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication that affects blood clotting or thins the blood can also make gums bleed more easily. Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications that increases the risk of gum disease.
You should tell your dentist about any health conditions you have or medications you're taking. They may advise talking to your doctor about changing your medication.
See a dentist in Sydney CBD
If you need advice, or it's time for your regular check-up and clean, contact our friendly team at Sydney CBD Dental.
Healthdirect. Bleeding gums and dental bleeding [Online] 2017 [Accessed July 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/bleeding-gums-and-dental-bleeding
Ivan Darby. Drugs and gingival bleeding. Australian Prescriber 2006;29:154-5 [Online] 2006 [Accessed July 2019] Available from: https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/drugs-and-gingival-bleeding