Why Are My Gums Bleeding?
The short answer to this question is that there is inflammation present, bringing increased blood flow to the gum tissues and making the tissues more delicate so that they bleed at the slightest provocation.
The longer answer to this question includes what various things lead to inflammation in the gums and predispose you to bleeding. Bleeding gums do indicate a dental concern that you should talk to Dr. Chowning about when we return for normal business. In the meantime, this article will explain what causes bleeding gums and what you should do about it until you can see the dentist.
What Causes Bleeding Gums?
The inflammation that leads to bleeding gums has one primary cause: dental plaque. Plaque is the off-white, sticky buildup that accumulates on the teeth and gums throughout the day. All day. Every day. Plaque contains disease-causing bacteria, food debris, and exfoliated tissue from the inside of the mouth.
The bacteria in dental plaque produce toxins, and these toxins are the cause of the inflammation. When your body perceives these toxins, it starts an inflammatory response. Acute inflammation is a good thing. Your body uses it to bring healing cells to the site of injury, and the increased blood flow of inflammation carries these cells to the area where they need to work.
Inflammation causes swelling, redness, tenderness, a tendency to bleed, and sometimes heat. The initial cause of bleeding gums is always dental plaque and the toxins it creates.
There are many secondary causes of bleeding gums. Basically, these are situations that increase the likelihood or severity of the inflammatory response to dental plaque.
- Hormone Surges – Having large fluctuations in hormones, like those occurring during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, makes the inflammatory response in the gum tissues hyperactive. Even the smallest amount of dental plaque can lead to severe gingivitis when the hormones are raging.
- Dry Mouth – A dry mouth lacks the protective effects of saliva against dental plaque. More plaque accumulates in a dry mouth than in a healthy mouth, so there is more inflammation.
- Poor Oral Hygiene – When someone does not properly clean his or her teeth at home between professional teeth cleanings, more plaque builds up, leading to more inflammation.
- Food Impaction – In some instances, a small gap between the teeth or a black triangle between the teeth and gums allows food to collect during every meal. This food impaction damages the delicate gum tissues and can cause chronic gingivitis in a specific spot.
How Do I Manage Bleeding Gums at Home?
The best treatment for bleeding gums is a professional teeth cleaning. Since those are currently unavailable, you can begin taking some steps in the right direction as you await our return to normal operating procedures. (Believe us, we want to be providing great preventive care for you all, and we are only awaiting permission from our governing bodies and regulatory agencies once they deem it safe for all parties!)
Here are the steps you can take to fight bleeding gums at home:
Improve your oral hygiene routine!
Between professional teeth cleanings, the job of plaque removal is YOURS. You must commit to great brushing and flossing techniques on a consistent daily schedule. Make sure you go to bed with clean teeth (late night snacking means you have to repeat your brushing and flossing routine….). Adding a mouthrinse can help reduce inflammation by flushing out the gum tissues.
Quickly address food impaction.
If you do have one of those spots in your teeth that constantly collects food, make sure you floss and remove the food debris quickly. Letting it remain in place increases your risk of inflammation and bleeding.
Moisturize your mouth.
If you suffer from dry mouth, take steps to moisten it with auxiliary products (we like Biotene dry mouth gel and Xylimelts) or stimulating natural saliva production. Chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to produce saliva and naturally moisturize your mouth between meals. It actually helps you fight cavities and gum disease, too!
Cut out sugar.
Did you know that sugar feeds inflammation? You can actually fight inflammation by limiting your sugar intake. This is especially important for patients with problems controlling blood sugar (diabetics), and it applies to everyone. A high-sugar diet leads to higher levels of inflammation. Lowering your sugar helps you fight inflammation.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
There are many vitamin and mineral deficiencies that lead to gingivitis and inflammatory problems in the mouth. Make sure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet to support your immune system and reduce your risk for inflammatory diseases.
We Are Here for You!
Keep an eye on our social media and website. We will keep you posted on changes in our schedule and our availability to resume your dental care. If you have an emergency, please call the office at 940-382-1750 and follow the instructions on the voicemail.
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