Unless you experience sudden severe blood loss and swelling, bleeding to the gums generally isn’t a dental emergency. However, bleeding gums should be a dental priority; you should arrange to see a dental professional as soon as possible.
Bleeding gums can be caused by many factors and there are various treatments and methods to stop your gums from bleeding, largely dependent on the root cause.
Causes of Bleeding Gums
Several things can case your gums to bleed, including brushing with too much pressure, ill-fitting dentures, incorrect dental flossing techniques and the use of cosmetic tooth gems.
A number of health conditions can also cause your gums to bleed, including:
- Oral infection
- Hormonal changes
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Bleeding disorders
- Blood conditions
Injury and trauma can also result in bleeding gums.
The most common cause of bleeding gums, however, is inflammation, caused by plaque or calculus building up along the gum line. Left untreated, it often causes greater bleeding and can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis, a severe gum disease that can result in tooth loss and health problems.
Good oral hygiene, following good dental care regimens and routine dental checkups are vital for preventing bleeding gums.
Ways to Stop Bleeding to the Gums
If your gums have already started bleeding, there are several things you can do.
If there’s a substantial amount of blood in the mouth and your gums don’t stop bleeding after a short period, applying gauze to the affected area can help quell the bleeding.
Use a Cold Compress
If bleeding to the gums is caused by injury or trauma to the mouth, applying a cold compress can reduce bleeding. It can reduce swelling and inflammation as well as curbing the flow of blood.
A wide range factors can cause mouth injuries, including force to the face during contact sports, assault, falling off a bicycle, a cracked tooth, jagged food items, hot food or drink, mouth piercing and grinding the teeth.
Brush and Floss Regularly
While you may be tempted to stop brushing and flossing your teeth to let your gums heal, poor oral hygiene will only compound the problem. Unless the bleeding is caused by trauma or injury, keeping up with good dental hygiene practices is essential.
You should always brush your teeth at least twice a day and try to floss every day to remove debris and bacteria. Using a tartar-control toothpaste can also help.
It’s important to use the correct type of toothbrush too; brushes with bristles that are too hard can damage your gums. Similarly, brushing your teeth and gums too hard or flossing too vigorously can cause bleeding.
You dentist can advise you as to the best brush and ideal brushing and flossing techniques for optimum oral health.
Use a Good Mouthwash
Make a good quality antibacterial mouthwash part of your dental care routine to improve your overall oral hygiene.
Swilling your mouth out with an antibacterial rinse can both stop immediate bleeding and help to prevent future bleeding by reducing inflammation and killing harmful oral bacteria.
Smoking can cause a range of health problems throughout the whole body, including in the mouth. In fact, smoking is a major cause of gum disease.
Smoking affects the body’s immune system, decreasing its ability to be able to fight oral bacteria. Furthermore, smoking slows the body’s regenerative capabilities, meaning that when your gums are damaged it takes longer for them to heal.
Consume Vitamins C and K
While an array of vitamins and minerals are important for optimal health, vitamins C and K are particularly important for prime oral health.
A vitamin C deficiency, known as scurvy, can in itself be a cause of bleeding gums. Boosting levels of vitamin C can also strengthen the body’s immune system, which helps you fight off inflammation in the gums that can cause bleeding. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties, protecting the gum lining and strengthening connective tissue.
Vitamin C is found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, including most citrus fruits, carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin K helps the blood to clot, which can make bleeding stop quicker. Sources of vitamin K include kale, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli and mustard greens.
Reduce Sugar and Carbohydrates
Reducing the amount of sugar and carbohydrates that you eat can also reduce the amount of plaque that can form in your mouth. It can also lower the levels of bacteria. With less plaque forming, there’s a lower risk of a buildup that can lead to bleeding gums.
Also known as calculus, tartar is a hardened accumulation of plaque. It can build up below, on and above the gum line and, as mentioned above, is a common cause of bleeding gums and gum disease.
Regular appointments with your dentist can prevent tartar from becoming problematic. A dental professional uses special tools and techniques to safely remove tartar and clean your teeth to maintain or improve good oral health and reduce the risk of gum disease. Investigation and treatment usually include a dental x-ray, physical examination of your tooth, scaling, cleaning and polishing.
If you are already experiencing the sign and symptoms of gum disease, it’s especially important that you visit your dentist as soon as possible.
Visit Your Dentist
In addition to routine check-ups, you should book an appointment with a dentist if you spot any changes with your gums, teeth or mouth.
Dentists can identify any problems in your mouth, such as the early stages of gum disease, and suggest appropriate treatments. As with any condition, the earlier the treatment is, the better. Dentists can also offer practical advice related to ongoing dental care at home.
For bleeding gums or other dental needs, contact our professional dentistry team at Taunton Village Dental. We’re open 7 days a week and our modern dental clinic features the latest technology for comfortable and timely service. If you’re looking for high-quality, affordable and professional dental care for the whole family, get in touch.