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Why do my gums bleed?

gum treatment hampton

If you’ve noticed bleeding of your gums, this is generally caused by bacteria on the teeth and beneath the gums. We commonly hear patients notice bleeding when flossing or brushing their gums. Brushing and flossing will not cause bleeding in healthy gums. If there is a re-occurrence of bleeding this is an indication, we need to be cleaning the teeth and gums more frequently and/or more effectively.

The bacteria layer that accumulates (plaque) is generally tooth colored and very difficult to see. The bacteria need to be removed frequently (2x daily) to prevent the onset of gum disease. Bleeding gums are a sign of this disease known as gingivitis, or inflammation of your gums. Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease localized to the gums. If you have gingivitis, your gums may be irritated, red, and swollen. If gingivitis is left untreated, this may progress to the next stage of gum disease impacting the supporting structures of the teeth (bone). This can lead to bad breath, abscesses, loss of teeth and even infections
in the rest of your body.

If you do notice bleeding of the gums, this is a good indicator that you should visit your Dentist or Dental Hygienist. Good oral hygiene practices are taught and encouraged to combat gum inflammation. 

Other causes of bleeding gums may include: medications, dry mouth and smoking.

If bleeding still occurs after every brush and after your professional clean, it could be an indicator for an underlying condition. This should always be discussed with your Oral health professional and may require further investigation.

Some common oral hygiene practices to prevent bleeding gums and maintain a healthy mouth include:

  • Gentle brushing with a soft toothbrush of the teeth and gumline twice
  • Flossing or using an alternative technique for cleaning (interdental
    brushes, water flosser) in between your teeth daily
  • In some cases, using a Chlorhexidine mouthwash daily for up to two weeks
  • Professional cleaning every 4-6 months