What Causes Bleeding Gums?

what causes bleeding gums - woman flossing in mirror

What Causes Bleeding Gums?

Does it seem like your gums are bleeding for no reason? There are actually many things that can cause bleeding gums, but not all of them are obvious. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you need to seek treatment as soon as possible to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria entering your bloodstream and attacking other parts of your body. Wondering what causes bleeding gums? Here are some of the most common culprits. 

Five Causes of Bleeding Gums

1: Gingivitis

The most common cause of bleeding gums is gingivitis. When plaque builds up, it irritates the gums, leading to a gum infection called gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, which causes bleeding, tender, and puffy gums. 

As gum disease progresses to its later stages, you may experience receding gums, the formation of pockets between the gums and teeth, or even tooth loss. But no matter which stage you have, gum disease requires immediate treatment to protect your oral health and stop the bleeding. 

2: Brushing Too Hard

One reason why your gums might bleed when you brush or floss could be that you’re doing it too hard. Regular brushing and flossing are crucial to good oral health, but being too rough actually causes more harm than good. 

Try switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and using gentle movements when brushing and flossing. Using an electric toothbrush can also help prevent you from brushing too hard, because you won’t have to put in as much manual effort. If the bleeding doesn’t stop within a week, something else is most likely the cause. 

3: Medication

Because they reduce your ability to form blood clots, blood-thinning medications may cause bleeding gums. If you are taking blood thinners, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be extra gentle when brushing to minimize bleeding. 

If the bleeding doesn’t stop quickly, contact your doctor. It’s also important to let your dentist know if you are taking blood thinners before undergoing any dental procedures, as the medication can make normal bleeding after a dental procedure more difficult to control. 

4: Poor-Fitting Dentures

Dentures that don’t fit properly irritate your gums and cause painful sores, which can cause bleeding gums. Poor-fitting dentures also allow bacteria and food particles to build up underneath them, increasing your risk of gum disease. Make sure to always keep your dentures clean, to keep gum disease at bay and keep them from wearing out prematurely.

Many factors can cause dentures to fit incorrectly, but a poor fit typically happens when they’ve reached the end of their lifespan. Dentures only last around seven years, so if you’ve had yours for longer, contact your dentist about getting new ones. 

5: Pregnancy

People who are pregnant are also more likely to experience bleeding and inflamed gums. The hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy change how the body responds to bacteria, which is what causes the gums to bleed. It’s extremely important to take good care of your oral health when pregnant to prevent infections and ensure that the baby is born healthy. 

Treatment for Bleeding Gums in Prescott, Arizona

No matter the reason, if you have bleeding gums it’s important to contact your dentist right away. The Prescott Dentistry team can determine what’s making your gums bleed, and provide treatment for conditions like gum disease before they get any worse. Call us at 928-445-1660 today to set up an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/23/2023). Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels