Seeing blood can be alarming, especially when brushing your teeth. However, that is not an absolute truth. Sometimes, it is a simple answer with a simple solution. Other times, it is an indicator that you need to seek treatment from your dentist. Even if you think you know the answer, you should still talk to your doctor.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease (or periodontal disease) is a serious infection of the “gingiva” or soft tissues of the gums. While gum disease is serious, it is highly treatable. The initial symptoms include redness or swelling of the gums. Additionally, you may notice your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth or floss. As it progresses, your gums may begin to recede, exposing more of your teeth. Eventually, it may uncover the tooth’s root. Without treatment, gum disease can cause tooth loss and the deterioration of the jawbone.
Fortunately, you can seek treatment and prevent gum disease.
Poor Oral Health
One of the main causes of gum disease is poor oral health. Much like the rest of your body, your mouth houses both good and bad bacteria. Typically, they balance each other out, especially with a proper oral health routine. However, if your oral hygiene is lacking, the harmful bacteria will multiply. Plaque, a form of bad bacteria, clings to all surfaces of your mouth. An abundance of plaque can cause tooth decay or gum disease. When you brush and floss your teeth, you remove plaque.
Plaque can build underneath and along your gum line. Without proper removal, it will irritate your gums and eventually cause infection.
Outside of oral health, situations outside your control can cause gum disease.
Certain medical conditions can make your gums more susceptible to developing gum disease. Conditions that affect your immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis or leukemia, can increase your chances of developing gum disease. Since gum disease is an infection, you can develop it if you have a compromised immune system.
Hormone changes are also known to increase the likelihood of developing gum disease. As your hormones fluctuate, it makes your gums more sensitive. Examples of hormonal changes include pregnancy, puberty, and menopause.
Finally, a vitamin deficiency can cause gum disease or gingivitis. Vitamin C and vitamin K are essential for your immune system and for blood clotting. This can make it difficult to fight off infections and for the blood to stop once it starts.
Even if it is a medical condition rather than hygiene, you still need to talk to your dentist about treatment options.
Brushing Too Hard
It is also possible that the cause of your bleeding gums is incredibly simple. Brushing too hard can scratch your gums, causing them to bleed. Additionally, using an abrasive toothbrush can irritate the soft tissues. When you brush your teeth, you should use gentle circular motions. This will adequately clean your teeth, and it will minimize gum inflammation or irritation. Also, make sure that you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush.