Some people think that bleeding during brushing and flossing is no big deal. The opposite is true! Depending on your oral health habits, bleeding should be a concern and seeking advice from your dentist about the problem is a good idea. If you haven’t flossed in a long time and are just starting a routine, a bit of bleeding during flossing is normal. If bleeding persists or you’re noticing bleeding while brushing, this is unusual and you should see the dentist. Here’s why else you shouldn’t ignore those bleeding gums!
Bleeding Gums Are a Sign of Gum Disease
Gum disease happens in stages. The first stage is gingivitis, where built-up plaque on the teeth will begin to affect your gums and cause redness and irritation. Your gums should be firm and pink, not puffy and red. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal (gum) disease.
Bleeding gums are most often a sign of gum disease, not aggressive brushing. Although brushing too hard can remove tooth enamel over time, it usually doesn’t cause gum bleeding unless you’re brushing with a frayed toothbrush that needs to be replaced. Don’t mistake your bleeding gums for normal. Any bleeding from your mouth should be evaluated by a professional!
Built-Up Plaque Will Cause Problems
The accumulated plaque around the gumline will cause problems if it’s not removed. After the gum tissue becomes red and swollen, it can actually begin to pull away from the teeth. When this happens, small areas between the gumline and your tooth roots can become infected. This causes you to have the appearance of longer teeth as the gum tissue recedes. Gum recession also causes sensitive teeth and exposed tooth roots, which can cause pain when eating anything too hot or too cold. When tooth plaque builds up, it can lead to tooth infection and eventually tooth loss. Once the roots become attacked by the infection and bacteria, loose teeth occur. If left untreated, your teeth can even fall out.
What You Can Do to Help
If you notice bleeding combined with sensitive teeth, the appearance of longer teeth, or loose teeth, you could be seeing signs of gum disease. Other signs of gum disease include persistent bad breath and sore gums. Seeking help from a professional dentist can let you know for sure if you have gum disease and what you can do. The good news is that gum disease can be treated! Your dentist may suggest a deep cleaning to remove bacteria, plaque, and infection. This process is called root planing and scaling. This will help remove the infection, but your home care is essential to long-term success.
Taking care of your teeth through regular brushing and flossing can help keep gum disease away. Regular dental visits can also ensure your gum disease hasn’t returned and that you’re doing a proper job with brushing and flossing. Ignoring your bleeding gums could lead to dental issues that are much more serious than a little bit of blood on your toothbrush! Schedule a visit with your dentist to ensure your gums are healthy at the first sign of gum disease. Treating it early will increase your chances of success!