Bleeding Gums

Are your gums bleeding?

See how plaque along the gum line is the likeliest cause, and how to fight it.

Learn also how to treat gums that bleed, and how to improve your habits.

  • bleeding gums

Causes

Plaque

Bleeding gums can have many causes, but the most common is accumulation of plaque along the gum line, preventable by practicing oral hygiene per ADA guidelines.

How does plaque make gums bleed? Bacteria feed on the plaque, inflaming the gums (gingivitis), which then easily swell and bleed. If ignored, plaque eventually hardens into tartar, causing gum disease (periodontitis), even loss of teeth and supporting bone. You may already have gum disease if they are swollen, sore, or smelly.

Apart from plaque, other causes are:

  • Improperly brushing or flossing
  • Any bleeding disorder
  • Use of blood thinners
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, puberty
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Leukemia, scurvy, HIV
  • Vitamin C, K deficiencies

Treatment

Depends on cause

Treatment of bleeding gums should fit the reasons. You can try to self-diagnose from the above list, and might cure yourself. For example, if you realize that you bleed when flossing, you can review flossing technique and might cease to bleed.

Gums that bleed in children and teenagers are common, as is their lack of motivation and technique in brushing and flossing. Here, treatment involves parents becoming coaches and role models in oral hygiene.

Since tobacco and alcohol-based mouth rinses aggravate the problem, avoid them.

In any case, do request an appointment for a check-up and dental cleaning, to remove what plaque and tartar you cannot, to thoroughly diagnose what causes your gums to bleed, and to plan an effective treatment.

References

References To Bleeding Gums MedLine Plus - Information
WebMD - Gum Problem Basics
Perio.org - Protecting Children's Oral Health
BabyCenter - Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy