I have bleeding gums.

Characteristics & what to look for

If you suffer from bleeding gums, you will most often notice the blood when spitting into the sink following brushing or flossing. Bleeding gums can often be associated with red, irritated, and swollen gums. When gums are unhealthy, they can bleed when brushing, flossing, or even when they are touched. Occasionally, gums can bleed spontaneously.

Similar and related Symptoms

It’s a common belief that flossing and brushing too hard can cause bleeding gums, but that is a very rare event.

Causes of the symptom and effects

Bleeding gums are caused by inflammation. The inflammation itself can be a result of inadequate removal of dental plaque (the white/yellow sticky film that builds up on teeth) that irritates the gums, gingivitis, periodontitis, or even possibly underlying medical conditions such as leukemia, hemophilia or too little vitamin C.

What you can do at home to help ease the symptoms

You can ease the symptoms of bleeding gums by daily removal of plaque along the gum-line, committing to regular cleanings with a dental professional, and addressing any underlying medical conditions with your physician. It is important to develop an individualized oral hygiene plan to remove plaque. This plan includes brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing daily, and using a rinse. It is common when starting a new hygiene routine that bleeding may occur for up to two weeks. Do not shy away from brushing or flossing an area that is bleeding during this time frame. If the bleeding continues after two weeks, consult with a dental professional.

Some patients have also found relief from bleeding gums by other forms of home treatment such as saltwater rinses, oil pulling and the use of essential oils. These can reduce bacteria and inflammation in your mouth but may not result in the complete resolution of bleeding.

Treatment and how we can help

Just as you would be concerned if any other part of your body was bleeding, you should also consider bleeding gums a sign that your mouth and body is not healthy. If your bleeding gums do not improve within a few weeks of increased home care, we are happy to consult with you to determine if additional professional care is indicated.

Long term effects if left untreated and negative progression

It is important not to ignore your gums if they bleed. The most common cause of persistent bleeding is gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis and bone loss can occur. Periodontitis is one of the most common causes of preventable tooth loss. Periodontitis can also have a negative effect on the health of your body and can contribute to increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke.