Bleeding gums are seen as the blood along the gum line i.e., the junction between the tooth and the gums. It can be localized (affecting some areas) or generalized (as a whole). Bleeding gums can be seen while brushing or eating something. Bleeding gums can be associated with inflamed or swollen gums. Bleeding on probing is the early sign of gingivitis.
Common Causes for Gum Bleeding
- Plaque or food deposits on teeth that an individual is unable to clean effectively.
- Faulty brushing or brushing too hard that hurt gums.
- Infection in the tooth or gum.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy can often lead to bleeding and swollen gums.
- Vitamin C or K deficiency.
- Improper flossing.
- Use of blood thinners and conditions like leukemia, certain heart diseases.
- Ill-fitting dentures.
The bleeding gums often look like swollen gums .they lose their consistency and appear rolled , red or inflamed. Bleeding on probing or brushing is commonly seen. This can be even associated with pocket formation into the gums. Halitosis associated with a metallic taste in the mouth can also occur. Food lodgement may occur in between the teeth and gums.
Home Care / First Aid for Bleeding Gums
- Brush gently using a soft-bristle toothbrush, after every meal.
- Warm salt water gargling thrice daily will help (Take some lukewarm water, add some salt and gargle with this solution thrice daily).
- Floss teeth twice daily to avoid buildup of plaque. You can also use an inter-dental brush to keep the area clean in between the teeth.
- Maintain a balanced, healthy diet.
- Avoid in-between meals to prevent plaque accumulation on teeth.
- Avoid the use of tobacco.
- Avoid the use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes.
- Apply pressure and use an ice-pack to control the bleeding.
Treatment for Gum Bleeding
To avoid bleeding gums it’s important to maintain the oral hygiene by taking appropriate care of teeth and gums sticking to the protocol of brushing teeth twice daily and a visit semi-annually to the dentist will keep your teeth and gums healthy. Visit your dentist if your gums continue to bleed even after following the above precautionary measures.
The treatment options include:
- The treatment should be started at an early stage.
- Professional cleaning by the dentist (complete oral prophylaxis).
- Gum gels are prescribed for pain relief and to arrest gum bleeding.
- Certain antibiotics are prescribed for control of infection.
- Removal of the cause of gum bleeding (factors that contribute to plaque accumulation).
- In case of vitamin deficiency, you may be advised to take vitamin supplements.
- Surgical therapy is initiated in cases of severe infection.