Do you ever notice that your gums are bleeding after you floss or brush your teeth? Many people see this as a normal occurrence, but the reality is that the gums should not be sensitive enough to bleed from slight pressure. If a person’s gums are bleeding, it may be a sign that they are dealing with one of these oral health issues.
Inadequate Plaque Removal
One of the most basic reasons for bleeding gums is plaque buildup along the teeth. Dental plaque starts out as a sticky, colorless deposit, but if it is not removed, it turns into a hard, yellow buildup. When plaque develops along the gum line, it can separate the gums from the teeth. Infections can build up in these areas, and then the sensitive gums tend to bleed more easily,
Also known as gingivitis, gum disease is a gum inflammation caused by a bacterial infection. It happens when food or plaque gets trapped in the gums and form small pockets of infection and inflammation. If left untreated, a person can eventually get periodontitis, a more severe infection. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States and Canada, but it is also highly treatable. Proper flossing and brushing can keep gum disease away.
The gums are close enough to the teeth that a tooth problem can also affect the surrounding gum area. A cavity is an area of infection on a tooth, so it can easily spread infection down into the gumline. The gums then begin to get inflamed as they try to fight off the infection, so even light stimuli may cause bleeding.
Other Health Problems
The gums have many blood vessels close to the surface, so they can be a good indicator of overall circulatory health. For example, if a person does not have enough platelets to clot blood, the gums are more likely to bleed. Gum bleeding is also more common among patients who have liver disease, blood clotting disorders, leukemia, anemia, or temporal arteritis.
If you wear dentures to replace missing teeth, it is especially important to be vigilant with brushing your mouth and cleaning your dentures and remaining teeth. Plaque builds up on dentures just as easily as regular teeth, and this can cause gum inflammation. Dentures may also cause gum bleeding if they do not fit properly because they can scrape against the gums and cause tiny scratches and sores. People who wear their dentures without the recommended rest period at night are particularly likely to have this sort of bleeding.
Flossing works to remove plaque along the teeth, so if you do not floss regularly, you will get inflammation. The first time you floss in a while, the gums may begin to bleed as a response. Gums will also bleed due to trauma, so if you floss too vigorously, you may damage the sensitive tissue and make it bleed.
Bleeding gums are typically a sign that something is irritating the gumline. In many cases, being careful to maintain your oral hygiene can make the bleeding go away after a few weeks. If the problem persists, it may be a good idea to discuss your concerns with a healthcare professional.
Annie Grace Wilson is a Public Relations Specialist for Denturehelper.com. She regularly produces content for a variety of blogs that cover topics from denture maintenance, upkeep and information.