Bleeding gums: causes, treatments and how to avoid them

Bleeding gums: causes, treatments and how to avoid them

May 17th, 2017 by Brandi Dixon in Health Experts
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Seeing red when you brush or floss? Bleeding gums can be a common occurrence, but it can also be a symptom that something is not right with your oral health. Drs. Mandy and Robert Shearer at Soddy Daisy Smiles are helping patients understand the causes of bleeding gums and identify the proper course of treatment.

Gums bleed when they are irritated by something. At the top of the list for causes, Dr. Mandy shared that sleep habits can actually play a role. 

"I have found that a lot of people tend to be mouth-breathers due to sinuses and allergies or even sleep apnea," she explained. "Breathing through the mouth tends to dry out the saliva at night, leading to swollen and irritated gums and even tooth decay." 

To combat this, Dr. Bob suggests seeing your dentist to find the right solution. A simple mouthpiece could fix the issue or similar device.

Medicines can be another trigger for bleeding gums. Blood thinners like aspirin keep the body from forming clots and can actually cause the gums to bleed more, even for longer periods of time after brushing.

"It's important that we know your medications if bleeding gums continues to be a problem," Dr. Mandy said. "We want to treat your oral health, but we need to know your overall health in order to make a correct diagnosis and plan."

For women, pregnancy can actually be contributor due to "pregnancy gingivitis." The changes in hormones during this time causes gums to swell up and become more sensitive which produces bleeding during brushing and flossing. Dr. Mandy said the good news here is that it's only temporary, and your dentist can help find solutions to provide relief and proper oral care.

Gaps in your oral health routine may also be to blame. Plaque build up eventually causes gums to separate and recede from the teeth. 

"Brushing and flossing clears away bacteria and plaque from the gums, and if you haven't been doing that enough,  you may simply need to up the habit," Dr. Bob said. 

He added that patients should keep in mind that brushing too hard can also irritate the gums and cause bleeding. Gentle motion when brushing helps and some people can benefit from toothbrushes with soft bristles.

Bleeding gums can also be a sign of periodontal disease (gum disease) which can be caused by a vast amount of things, including build up on the teeth that's allowed germs into the gums, and can lead to tooth loss, according to Dr. Mandy.

"Ideally, if a person continues to see red, swollen and bleeding gums after stepping up his or her dental home care, it can be a sign of something that needs to be treated and should see a dentist soon," she encouraged. "Gum disease can also be linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke or cancer. It's important to pay attention to your symptoms and get the right treatment right away."

Taking care of the gums is crucial because they protect the roots and neck of the teeth from bacteria.

"Without healthy gums, bacteria can get inside and damage the tissues," Dr. Bob explained. "Over time the tissues can become too damaged, leading to loose teeth as an adult or even tooth loss."

For more information on bleeding gums, or to schedule an appointment today, call Soddy-Daisy Smiles at 423-332-5275 or visit soddydaisysmiles.com.

Noteworthy:

"I have found that a lot of people tend to be mouth-breathers due to sinuses and allergies or even sleep apnea. Breathing through the mouth tends to dry out the saliva at night, leading to swollen and irritated gums and even tooth decay." Dr. Mandy Shearer

More information

For more information, call Soddy-Daisy Smiles at 423-332-5275 to schedule an appointment or visit soddydaisysmiles.com.