Did you notice that your gums were bleeding the last time you brushed or flossed your teeth? While most people may consider it a normal occurrence, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, bleeding gums usually means that your teeth are not in the peak of health or it can also be a sign of something more serious, like the presence of gum disease.
Here are some of the usual problems associated with bleeding gums:
Gingivitis (gum disease)
Based on statistics compiled by Australian oral health surveys, one in four adults are suffering from moderate to severe periodontal disease at any given time. Demographically speaking, more than 50 per cent of Australian seniors (over the age of 65) have moderate to severe forms of the gum disease.1
It is important to understand the link between bleeding gums and gum disease. Bleeding gums may be caused by inadequate plaque removal. Plaque is a sticky yellowish substance that attacks the healthy tissue around the teeth, causing the gums to become inflamed. This is the first stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. One of the main symptoms of the painless condition is bleeding gums – in addition to other signs like bad breath; swollen or tender gums.
If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more advanced stages of the disease whereby the bone supporting your teeth deteriorates leading to loosening and loss of teeth. This is why it is so important to see your dentist at the first sign of bleeding gums. Your dentist is in the best position to evaluate your condition and prescribe the best treatment for your case.
Certain medications may cause a person’s gums to bleed. Medical drugs used for the purpose of thinning the patient’s blood like anticoagulants and antiplatelets can increase the risk of oral bleeding.2 This is why if you are on blood thinners and need to undergo a dental procedure, your dentist may advice you to stop your medication for a few days prior to the procedure.2
People who take blood-thinning medication would need to adjust their dental routines so as not to damage their gums. They may switch to a softer toothbrush or use a Waterpik to help reduce the risk of slicing or cutting the soft tissue around their teeth. If you are taking blood thinning medication, it’s important to let your dentist know during your appointment. Common Antiplatelet drugs include Aspirin, Brilinta and Plavix.
New Toothbrush/Flossing Routines
Your gums may also be bleeding simply because you are brushing or flossing too vigorously. When you brush or floss too vigorously, it can damage and irritate the sensitive oral tissues and cause your gums to bleed. Oral bleeding may also occur if you have just switched to a new toothbrush or started flossing. Your gums may bleed at first as they are adjusting to the new bristles or interdental cleaning.
Typically, the bleeding would go away after about a week of using the new toothbrush or flossing routine. Try using a soft-bristled toothbrush to see if it helps to reduce the bleeding. If bleeding persists, however, you should talk to your dentist about the condition.
At Face Value Dental, we offer a range of Preventive Dental Services. If you’re interested to find out more, please contact us on (07 3221 0677 or make an online enquiry for more information.
M Morgan. "Health Check: why do my gums bleed and should I be worried?" The Conversation. May 28, 2017. http://theconversation.com/health-check-why-do-my-gums-bleed-and-should-i-be-worried-28456
APA MLA Chicago Anticoagulant and Antiplatelet Medications and Dental Procedures. http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/anticoagulant-antiplatelet-medications-and-dental-.