At Advanced Family Dental, bleeding gums ranks one of the most common conditions our team of Lakewood dentists see in patients. If your gums bleed after brushing or eating, it could be a sign of early stage gum disease called gingivitis. When left untreated, gingivitis can progress into the far more serious periodontitis, the leading cause of permanent tooth loss in adults.
Fortunately, bleeding gums doesn’t have to become a serious issue. In fact, by practicing quality oral hygiene at home, you can prevent the progression of gum disease and store your gums back to health.
The Causes of Bleeding Gums
A buildup of tartar or plaque is the most common reason for gums to start bleeding. These substances allow harmful oral bacteria to grow along the gum line, where it can start to cause inflammation and irritate gum tissue. This combination of inflammation and irritation leads to the development of gingivitis.
However, you can prevent plaque buildup and gum sensitivity by practicing quality oral hygiene at home.
In addition to plaque and tartar buildup, the most common causes for bleeding gums include:
- Not brushing at least twice a day
- Using a toothbrush with hard bristles
- Using an old toothbrush that’s become worn and no longer effectively cleans your teeth
- Brushing with too much force
- Not flossing enough
If you’re tired of seeing red every time you spit out your toothpaste, consider trying the following tips to stop your gums from bleeding. While these tips offer a solution for dealing with bleeding gums in the moment, they should help until your improve oral hygiene routine has had time to make a more permanent impact on your gum health.
Just as if you were bleeding from anywhere else on the body, applying gauze to the affected area can help stop the flow of blood. Just gently press the gauze in place until the bleeding has stopped. If it takes longer than a few minutes for the bleeding to stop once you have applied gauze, you should consult with our Lakewood dentists, especially if you have a weakened immune system or other underlying medical condition.
Apply a small ice pack or an ice cube against bleeding, swollen gum tissue to help ease any discomfort.
Ice packs make a great solution for helping to soothe minor mouth injuries that cause swelling, such as scrapes or bruises. They also work well at helping to reduce any swelling and discomfort caused by gingivitis.
So you don’t give yourself frostbite, only apply ice to the affected area for no more than 10 minutes.
Antibacterial mouthwashes can both help to treat bleeding gums and eliminate the buildup of plaque that contributes to the development of gingivitis. These types of mouthwashes effectively reduce inflammation by killing the harmful bacteria responsible for the accumulation of plaque in the mouth.
When selecting a mouthwash, consider buying a brand that’s alcohol-free. Mouthwashes that contain alcohol can cause dry mouth as a potential side effect. When dry mouth occurs, it makes it easier for plaque to build up in the mouth because of the reduced saliva flow. Saliva is the body’s natural defense mechanism against plaque buildup.
Rinsing the mouth with salt water can help to reduce the buildup of harmful oral bacteria, while also improve healing times. If you want to make a salt solution at home, the American Dental Association recommends adding a ½ teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water.
Simply swish the solution around your mouth for about 1 minute to clean the area, and then spit the solution out. Repeats this process several times a day, or as frequently as recommended by our Lakewood dentists.