Bleeding gums mean something is wrong. Healthy gum tissues don’t bleed. So, if you see “pink in the sink” after brushing and flossing, it’s important to figure out what’s going on. It’s not a condition that will resolve on its own over time, but rather one that requires rigorous home care and/or the help of a periodontal expert like our gum specialist in The Woodlands.
Although there are dozens of different reasons why someone’s gums could bleed easily, here are four of the most common that we see in our practice:
1: You Don’t Floss Every Day (Gingivitis)
Regardless as to whether you brush your teeth twice a day, a toothbrush just can’t clean between your teeth (or under your gumlines.) So if you’re occasionally flossing “as needed”, those tissues aren’t getting the thorough daily cleaning that they need. In turn, early symptoms of gingivitis start to develop. Bleeding and swelling being the most common.
It typically takes flossing thoroughly every day for about two weeks before gingivitis-induced bleeding finally resolves. Hate flossing? Consider trading in your floss for a water flosser. Waterpik is a popular brand. Although it can be a bit messy at first, water flossers are much more effective at cleaning under your gums and around restorations like dental implants.
2: There’s Something Stuck Between Your Teeth
Whether it’s a piece of food (popcorn hulls tend to be some of the worst offenders) or an old filling that’s starting to leak, the constant irritation can be all that it takes to make your gums start to bleed. Slightly rough edges like the leaky margin around an old filling can trap small amounts of plaque that in turn lead to localized infection and bleeding.
If you’re still using traditional floss, consider tying a small not in it and running it between your teeth to see if it catches anything.
3: Tartar Buildup and Periodontal Disease
Tartar — or calculus — is calcified plaque that’s attached to the surface of your teeth and tooth roots. Since it doesn’t come off with brushing and flossing, there’s a consistent colony of bacteria in that part of your mouth. As time goes by, the bacteria trigger periodontal disease, which causes gum detachment and bone loss. This scenario creates deep “pockets” around your teeth, making infected areas especially hard to clean. Chronic bleeding, swelling, bad breath, and gum recession are common results.
4: Anemia or Hormones
Perhaps you have great oral hygiene, but your gums still bleed. It’s likely that the symptoms are attributed to another underlying issue. Anemia is one, as it reduces your body’s ability to clot blood quickly due to low iron levels. Another is hormone-induced and is occasionally seen in women (although it doesn’t affect all of them.)
Bleeding Gums Progress Into Tooth Loss
In the majority of situations, bleeding gums indicate gingivitis. And untreated gingivitis eventually turns into periodontal disease. As gum infections become more severe, so does your risk of tooth loss.
Call our office in The Woodlands to schedule treatment for bleeding gums with our Periodontist in The Woodlands & Conroe.