Your gum tissue helps protect your teeth and hold them in place. Healthy gum tissue is usually firm and smooth, and shouldn’t bleed when you brush your teeth. However, if your gums are tender or bleeding, even if just when brushing or flossing your teeth, these could be signs that something is wrong with your smile. What could tender and bleeding gums mean?
Tender and Bleeding Gums Are a Sign of Gum Disease
Most often, tender and bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease . Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, happens when plaque builds up around the gumline. Plaque can accumulate as the result of poor oral hygiene or a poor diet. Some people may also be more genetically disposed to develop gum disease, such as if one or both parents have had the condition.
When plaque builds up, it can irritate the gum tissue and lead to swelling, which is what causes tender gums. Gum tissue may also bleed when your brush or floss your teeth. Even if you only occasionally see blood when brushing, follow up with your dentist to see if you could have gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.
Other Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease may include other symptoms besides just tender or bleeding gums. If you have gum disease, you may also experience :
- Receding gums or exposed tooth roots near the gumline
- Teeth that appear longer
- Loose teeth or gaps between teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- A persistent bad taste in your mouth
If you have any of these symptoms, especially with bleeding or swollen gums, it’s time to visit your dentist to get your smile evaluated for gum disease.
How to Prevent and Treat Gum Disease
Fortunately, gum disease can typically be reversed if caught early. Therapy may include a deep cleaning, called a root planing and scaling, to help remove bacteria and restore healthy gum tissue.
However, once gum disease progresses, the condition can become more difficult to treat. You may need antibiotic therapy or even a gum graft to help stop the progression of gum disease.
Gum disease can also be prevented with proper home care habits such as daily brushing and flossing, using mouthwash, and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups . Your dentist can also help you assess your risk for gum disease to determine if you could be more at risk based on your oral health and family history to put appropriate preventative measures in place.
Do You Have Tender and Bleeding Gums?
If you’ve been noticing your gums are more tender or you’ve been seeing blood when brushing—or you’re experiencing other symptoms of gum disease—it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist to see what the problem could be. Your dentist can help you take the best care of your smile to both prevent and treat gum disease!