Healthy gums should not bleed. Some people feel that bleeding is simply due to the sliding of a sharp piece of floss between the teeth, causing injury to the gums. An improper or aggressive technique can injure the gums, but flossing typically should not cause bleeding. Let’s consider the three most-common causes of bleeding gums.
Gum inflammation is an immune-response to bacteria (plaque) that irritate gums. As the body fights the bacteria, tiny capillaries in the gums are expanded to allow germ-fighting agents to escape and attack the bacteria. These little blood vessels are more sensitive as they expand. This makes the surrounding tissue swollen and prone to bleeding. When not removed by frequent brushing and flossing, plaque can cause prolonged inflammation called gingivitis. This can advance to the more-serious disease, periodontitis.
Some medications, such as blood-thinners, prevent blood from clotting. Any disruption to the gum tissue can cause bleeding. This is not necessarily a factor you can control, if your doctor has prescribed such a medication for you, but try to familiarize yourself with the side-effects.
Hormonal changes affect the sensitivity of the gums and can cause increased inflammation. The hormonal fluctuations that accompany the onset of puberty, menstruation in females, and the first trimester of pregnancy are among the most common contributors to increased bleeding in gums.
No matter what is contributing to increased-bleeding, proper oral hygiene will keep inflammation-causing bacteria to a minimum. Contact your dentist for a gum-health assessment if you have noticed bleeding even while simply brushing. Your dental team will help identify possible causes.
Posted on behalf of:
Dr. Farhan Qureshi, DDS
5206 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
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