What Causes Bleeding Gums?
Gums usually bleed because something irritates them. Here are some common causes of gum irritation:
1. Gingivitis (Gum Disease)
If you don’t floss or brush regularly, bacteria (also called plaque) builds up in the groove around your teeth. Sometimes you can even see the plaque as white or yellowish marks by your gums.
As bacteria grow and move, they irritate your gums, causing gingivitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, and its most common symptom is bleeding gums. Besides bleeding gums, you could also have gingivitis symptoms like red gums, sensitive gums, and bad breath.
Luckily, this stage of gum disease is reversible. Your dentist can help scrape away plaque and bacteria. Brushing and flossing keep the bacteria away for good so you can enjoy healthy gums.
However, if gingivitis gets worse, your gums may start to pull away from your teeth, leaving space for bacteria to travel into tissues below your teeth. The longer bacteria live in your tissues, the worse your dental health gets.
When you are pregnant, changes in your hormones affect your entire body. Your gums are no exception. Hormone changes can cause “pregnancy gingivitis.” Your gums may swell up and become sensitive, causing bleeding when you brush or floss. To avoid oral health issues, talk to your dentist about how to care for your teeth when you are pregnant.
The medicines you take can make your gums more likely to bleed, even if you have excellent brushing and flossing habits. Blood thinners and aspirin keep your blood from clotting. These medicines especially increase your risk of bleeding gums and may cause your gums to bleed for a long time after brushing.
You should tell your dentist if you are taking these medicines. We want to help your mouth be as healthy as possible, but if we don’t know about your general health we can’t give you the proper care.
4. A New Oral Health Routine
If you have just started a new oral health routine, such as brushing or flossing more often, your gums may bleed until your mouth gets used to the new habits. Brushing and flossing clear away bacteria and plaque from your gums. As you practice these good habits, your gums should bleed less until it eventually stops altogether.
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