What Causes Bleeding Gums?
According to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of Americans aged 30 or older have an advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. When you get a buildup of plaque on your teeth, your gums will begin to separate and then recede from your teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains germs that irritate the gum tissue. When you brush your teeth or floss, your gums will bleed from the inflammation and irritation.
Bleeding gums is usually present in the beginning stages of gum disease. This is called gingivitis and it can progress into periodontitis if it is left untreated. If you have periodontitis, you risk bone and tooth loss.
Routine visits to the dentist can help you prevent and manage gum disease at any stage. Dr. Furgurson offers comprehensive periodontal care and screens patients for gum disease on every visit.
Bleeding gums can also be caused by other things such as pregnancy, flossing and brushing your teeth too hard, and wearing dentures that do not fit correctly.
Treatment of Bleeding Gums
If you notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you should let Dr. Furgurson or Dr. White know during your next visit. There are a number of treatment options for bleeding gums, depending on your condition:
- Routine Dental Cleaning: The best way for you to prevent gum disease and bleeding gums is with regular preventive dental care. Our dental cleanings are performed by a dental hygienist who will gently remove plaque and tartar from around the teeth and gums. Regular visits will ensure that your gums remain healthy and plaque-free and reduce your chance of experiencing bleeding gums.
- Scaling & Root Planing: If you have bleeding gums, Dr. Furgurson may recommend an intensive cleaning procedure known as scaling and root planing. Dr. Furgurson will remove plaque and tartar from deep pockets of the gum and smooth the surface of tooth roots.
- Periodontal Therapy: Periodontal therapy can include any of the treatments above as well as gum surgery for patients suffering from periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease. We may perform periodontal therapy and gum surgery in our Chapel Hill dental office using a special dental laser or refer you to a specialist for treatment.
How To Avoid Bleeding Gums
Aggressive brushing and flossing can cause bleeding gums even when gum disease is not an issue. Always use a soft toothbrush and brush using a gentle, circular motion. Brushing back and forth can damage gums and make them more likely to bleed and/or recede.
When flossing, carefully slide the floss between teeth and gently follow the curve of each tooth. Forcing the floss up and down can cut gums, causing them to bleed.
If you are pregnant, please be sure to keep up with your regular visits to our Chapel Hill dentist office to make sure you maintain your oral health. Please continue to brush and floss regularly, but be extra cautious around sensitive gum tissue to prevent bleeding.