When you find yourself tasting iron or notice that your toothpaste spit has a pinkish tint, this means your gums are bleeding. Even when your gums bleed a little bit, they are trying to tell you something about your oral health. However, since your gums can bleed for a variety of reasons, you may need to have your dentist evaluate you to determine the cause. In the meantime, here are some common reasons why your gums are bleeding:
Brushing or Flossing Too Hard
One common reason for bleeding gums is an aggressive brushing or flossing technique. Pushing too hard on your toothbrush to scrub your teeth irritates the gums, which can cause them to bleed and eventually recede. Additionally, flossing aggressively and allowing the floss to snap against the gums also causes gum irritation, bleeding, and gum recession.
Changes in Oral Hygiene Habits
Your gums may be bleeding because you recently made some type of change in your oral hygiene routine. One common change that leads to bleeding gums is when you temporarily stop flossing, then start up again. Your gums can also bleed when you switch to a new toothbrush that has stiffer bristles than your old toothbrush. When your gums are bleeding in response to a change, they should stop bleeding within a week.
Gum disease is a common oral health problem caused by excess plaque that accumulates along the gum line. Since plaque contains bacteria, it ultimately causes the gum tissue to become infected with a mild form of gum disease called gingivitis. While one of the key symptoms of gingivitis is bleeding gums, other accompanying symptoms include red, swollen, or tender gums. Most cases of gum disease can be effectively treated with good oral hygiene and professional teeth cleanings.
Pregnant women are susceptible to developing what is known as pregnancy gingivitis. Like traditional gingivitis, pregnancy gingivitis is characterized by gums that are red, swollen, tender, and that bleed easily while brushing or flossing. However, pregnancy gingivitis usually arises in response to the various hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Since these hormones change the way the body responds to the bacteria responsible for gum disease, it is more likely that pregnant women will develop pregnancy gingivitis, even with good oral hygiene.
One final cause of bleeding gums is taking certain medications, such as blood thinners. Blood thinners are commonly used to treat heart or blood vessel disease by thinning the blood and preventing it from clotting properly. As a result, this means that the gums are more likely to bleed whenever they are slightly irritated, such as while brushing and flossing.
Dr. Admar holds dual certificates — a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) in 2010 from India and a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2014 from Canada. He is now a full time practicing dentist in Kamloops where he provides a variety of services, including emergency dentistry. Dr. Admar spends hundreds of hours in continued dental education to stay up to date in cosmetic and implant dentistry and he has achieved several advanced qualifications.