Article at a Glance
- If gum disease is left untreated, it can put you at risk for other illnesses including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- The first signs of gum disease include inflammation, tenderness, redness, and bleeding of the gums.
- You can reverse gum disease in its earliest stages with good oral care habits. Talk to your dentist about your options.
Have you ever noticed a little bit of blood when brushing and flossing? It may be a warning sign of the earliest stage of gum disease, also known as gingivitis. Even people with beautiful, cavity-free smiles are at risk for gum disease, but the good news is that it’s reversible if caught early enough.
What Do Bleeding Gums Mean?
Bleeding gums are a symptom of gingivitis, and if left untreated, the underlying causes can lead to more advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis. Once the disease has progressed to periodontitis, the damage is irreversible, and if left unchecked, can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease also increases your chances of developing other illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and cancer.
What Are the Causes of Bleeding Gums?
The short answer is that bleeding gums are caused by plaque build-up. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar. When that tartar builds up, it breaks the attachments between the teeth and gums. Eventually, pockets form between the teeth and gums. Bacteria builds up in these pockets and leads to infection that can destroy gum tissue and jaw bone.
Even if you haven’t noticed your gums bleeding, you may have experienced some of the other symptoms of bleeding gums. If you’ve noticed inflammation, tenderness, or redness of your gums, it’s a good idea to speak to your dentist about the possibility of gingivitis.
How to Stop Bleeding Gums.
Whether or not you’ve experienced some of these symptoms, you’re probably wondering how to stop bleeding gums. The best thing you can do is to adopt good dental care habits.
- Brush for at least two minutes twice per day and floss daily.
- Try adding a therapeutic mouthwash into your daily routine.
- See your dentist every six months for cleanings and to be checked for any signs of gum disease.
- If you are a smoker, quit as soon as possible. Smoking is strongly associated with gum disease because it weakens your immune system and makes it harder to fight off gum infections.
- Manage any risk factors you may have including diabetes, alcohol use, and heart conditions.