Improper or infrequent oral care, such as failing to floss, can lead to serious gum disease. When this occurs, those who suffer from this affliction may experience a variety of troubling symptoms that are often difficult to reverse without the assistance of a dentist. However, this problem is completely preventable, especially when dental patients learn…
Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease
About three out of four Americans experience gum disease, according to WebMD. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of bleeding gums. However, the condition can also be caused by improper oral hygiene or other issues.
Causes of bleeding gums
If a patient notices blood when brushing or perform other oral hygiene tasks, it can be the result of one or more of these causes.
Improper oral hygiene
Brushing too hard or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause bleeding gums. Additionally, the gums may bleed when someone first begins flossing after not doing so for a while.
Bleeding gums are a common symptom of gingivitis. This is a mild form of gum disease caused by plaque that accumulates at the gum line. It leads to inflammation in the gum tissue. People with gingivitis may have gums that are red, irritated, and swollen.
Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease that can develop if gingivitis is left untreated. This condition can result in damage to the bone and tissue that supports the teeth. Gums that are infected or inflamed, bleed easily, and pull away from the tooth roots are a sign of periodontitis.
Periodontal disease may also cause bad breath, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, and change the way teeth fit together. The gums may appear swollen and red and be tender. In more advanced cases, the teeth of patients with periodontitis may be loose or separated.
Patients who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes are more likely to get infections such as gum disease. Additionally, the high blood sugar levels that may accompany this disease can make it more difficult for the body to heal, causing gum disease to get worse.
Other medical conditions
Less commonly, bleeding gums may be a sign of leukemia, thrombocytopenia, scurvy, hemophilia, or von Willebrand disease. The condition can also result from a vitamin C or vitamin K deficiency.
Issues with dental work
Dentures that do not fit properly can sometimes cause bleeding gums. Additionally, problems with other types of dental restorations may lead to this issue. If dental work is causing bleeding gums, the patient should consult a dental professional.
Some medications, such as blood thinners, can make the gums more likely to bleed. Patients taking these medications may want to speak with a dentist or medical professional about ways to avoid this problem.
Prevention of bleeding gums caused by gum disease
Gingivitis can often be avoided or improved by improving the patient's oral hygiene routine. The teeth should be gently brushed twice per day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossed once per day. Additionally, patients should rinse daily with an antibacterial mouthwash and have regular dental checkups.
Bleeding gums may be the result of an easily correctable oral hygiene issue, dental work, medication, or a serious medical condition. Patients who experience bleeding from the gums that does not improve with proper oral hygiene should consult a dentist or other medical professional.
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