Gum problems and bleeding gums

Bleeding gums can occur after vigorous brushing. Although many people regard bleeding gums or sore swollen gums as normal, it can actually be a sign that you are at risk of, or already have gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis).

Seeking dental treatment for bleeding gums or sore swollen gums early can help save teeth that are at risk of gingivitis or periodontitis.

Gingivitis explained

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is advanced gum disease that can occur if gingivitis is not treated by good dental hygiene and dental procedures. In periodontitis, the gum margin is weakened. Bacteria and its toxic products cause bleeding swollen gums. The tooth root, the supporting bone and ligaments connecting to the tooth root are infected. Eventually bone is lost, and spaces, called periodontal pockets, form between the tooth and the gum. Periodontitis and advanced gum disease can present with bleeding gums, swollen gums, sore gum, receding gums, bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth and loose teeth.

What causes bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums are caused by inadequate plaque removal from the gum line of the teeth. Plaque is made up of bacteria, mucus and food debris that builds up on exposed parts of teeth. Without routine removal of this built up plaque, it becomes trapped at the base of the tooth in the form of tartar. This tartar irritates and causes bleeding and swelling of the surrounding gum. Bleeding gums or sore gums often result. This condition of infected and bleeding gums is known as gingivitis.

What is the treatment for bleeding gums?

Gingivitis and periodontitis are treatable conditions. Treatment for bleeding gums involves regular brushing with a soft, small-headed tooth brush. Particular attention should be paid to the area where the gum meets the tooth. This area is important to clean thoroughly in order to ensure the health of the gum tissue and supporting structures. Regular use of dental floss can also assist in removing problematic plaque. Even in the situation of swollen gums or bleeding gums, cleaning your gums will improve the situation and stop the progression of gingivitis or periodontitis.

Early treatment intervention for bleeding gums or swollen gums can ensure the long-term survival of your teeth. If you have swollen, tender or bleeding gums, or your teeth are feeling loose, it is extremely important to contact your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will professionally clean your teeth to remove any plaque that is causing bleeding gums or swollen gums. Your dentist will also advise you on appropriate tooth cleaning techniques.

How can you prevent bleeding gums?

Prevention of bleeding gums (gingivitis, periodontitis) can only be achieved through regular brushing and routine dental cleaning. It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss at least once a day. For people who are particularly prone to developing gingivitis or periodontitis, your dentist may advise you to brush and floss more frequently, such as after every meal and at bedtime. Your dentist may also advise you to use special toothpicks, anti-plaque toothpastes, special toothbrushes or salt water and hydrogen peroxidise irrigation.

Consulting your dentist about correct brushing and flossing techniques can help save your teeth in the long run.