Bleeding gums is a cause for concern, though many patients may be tempted to ignore this issue. When gums bleed very easily, this can be an indication of a very serious dental or medical issue. There are a number of conditions that can cause your gums to bleed, and the treatment in your case will vary depending on what is causing your gums to bleed.
What causes the gums to bleed?
If you find that your gums are bleeding when you brush your teeth, you may be using an improper toothbrush or incorrect brushing technique. It is important to remember to use only a soft-bristled toothbrush, as harder bristles can damage your gum tissue. You should also brush using a circular, massaging motion to remove the plaque and food debris from your teeth; never attempt to “scrub” them clean.
When gums become inflamed and bleed easily even when you’re not brushing, you may have developed gum disease. Over time, plaque can build up along the gum line, causing the gum tissue to become inflamed and swollen. This often results in some soreness as well. When left untreated, mild gum disease can progress to periodontitis. This occurs when the area below the gums becomes infected, and can result in loosened teeth as well as bleeding, swollen, and sore gums.
In rarer cases, you may have a medical condition that causes your gums to bleed. These conditions may include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid disease
It is important to have bleeding gums evaluated by a dentist as soon as possible for treatment.
How are bleeding gums treated?
Your dentist will choose a treatment for your bleeding gums depending on the underlying cause. In cases where gums are bleeding due to improper brushing technique, simply changing your oral health care regimen to include the correct toothbrush and technique will usually solve the problem. If you are suffering from periodontal disease or gingivitis, you will probably be asked to return to your dentist’s office for a series of deep cleaning appointments. You may also be given prescription antibiotics and other medications to help treat any infection that may be present in the gums. More extreme cases may require surgery, or even bone and tissue grafts in order to repair damage that has been done to the gum tissue and underlying bone.
If your gums do not appear to be infected, and no dental cause can be found for your bleeding gums, your dentist will refer you to your general practitioner, or to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.