Bleeding Gums
August 17, 2022
If your gums are bleeding after you brush or floss, this may be a sign that your gums are not healthy. Bleeding gums are often a sign of gum disease and should be treated early. In this article, we talk about the signs and symptoms, the causes and the treatments.


Ina Alberts

Patients often tell me that they don’t floss their teeth because it bleeds their gums. It is important to note that healthy gums will not bleed when you brush or floss. Bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease which, usually, is not painful until it has progressed quite far. Early signs should not be ignored or left untreated.

What are the initial signs of gum disease?

Red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums. A bad taste in your mouth or bad breath.

So what causes gum disease?

Plaque build-up against or below the gum line. This happens when you do not brush long, thoroughly or often enough or if you’re someone who doesn’t floss regularly.

How can gum disease be treated?

After a day, plaque starts calcifying on teeth (this is called tartar build-up or calculus). A professional cleaning will be needed to remove these deposits. Often our brushing or flossing techniques and/or tools aren’t effective. Or, we don’t spend enough time cleaning our teeth. This leads to insufficient plaque removal, plaque accumulation and tartar formation. Your hygienist can guide you and give advice on the proper dental hygiene home care regimen for you. In addition to clinical treatment and home care, an antibacterial mouthwash or antibiotics may also be prescribed. Sometimes more than one dental hygiene visit will be necessary to achieve healthy gums, followed by routine 3-6 monthly maintenance appointments to maintain healthy gums and teeth.

What happens if gum disease is left untreated?

Gum infection (Gingivitis) eventually spreads to the bone around our teeth and can result in bone loss (Periodontal disease). This is characterized by receding gums, larger interdental spaces and tooth mobility. Treatment is essential to prevent tooth loss. Periodontal disease also has a systemic effect and influences your overall health.

Prevention is better than cure, so visit your dental hygienist at least every 6 months.

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