Bleeding Gums

When do your gums bleed?

  • WHEN YOU BRUSH OR FLOSS

  • It’s not normal for your gums to bleed when you brush or floss (unless you recently began brushing or flossing). If bleeding persists, you have either gingivitis (early gum disease with no bone loss yet) or periodontitis (more advanced gum disease with bone loss).

    TREATMENT

    See your dentist or hygienist. You’ll need some combination of teeth cleaning, root planing, and new home-care techniques. Once all the tartar, the hard deposit of calcium salts and bacteria, and the soft film of food particles and bacteria has been removed from your root surfaces and you’re keeping all the plaque off of your teeth, all bleeding will go away.

  • WHEN YOU EAT

  • It’s not normal for your gums to bleed when you eat. Bleeding indicates that your gums are swollen and that you have either gingivitis (early gum disease) or periodontitis (more advanced gum diseases with bone loss).

    TREATMENT

    See your dentist or hygienist. You’ll need some combination of tooth cleaning, root planing, and new home care techniques. First, all the tartar, the hard deposit of calcium salts and bacteria, will be removed from the root surfaces of your teeth. Then it will be your job to keep all the plaque, the soft deposit of food particles and bacteria, off your teeth with regular brushing and flossing. All bleeding will then go away.

  • FROM ONE SPOT ABOVE A SINGLE TOOTH

  • A tooth infection causes pus to build up at the tip of the root and makes a hole in the bone. This infection may work its way to the surface of your gums and form a gumboil, which may bleed.

    TREATMENT

    See your dentist to have the tooth checked. Infected teeth can be repaired by root canal treatment, often followed by a crown (also called a cap). If you wait too long, you may have a major toothache as well as a dangerous infection that could ultimately be life threatening.

  • AFTER TOOTH REMOVAL

  • If you’ve recently had a tooth removed, it’s common for the extraction site to seep a little blood for a day or two. But it’s not normal for the area to bleed substantially.

    TREATMENT

    To reduce bleeding, apply pressure to the extraction site with a rolled-up gauze pad; your dentist will provide them. Some dentists reommend that you also bite on a moist tea bag for 5 to 10 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to stop the bleeding. Contact your dentist immediately if bleeding persists or if there is substantial bleeding.

Tobacco Use and Bleeding Gums

Smokers have a much higher chance in developing gingivitis and periodontitis. The effects of tobacco on oral health are harsh because smokers produce less saliva resulting in more tartar buildup. This buildup accelerates the pace at which gum destruction occurs and bone deteriorates in more extreme cases. Even the use of smokeless tobacco products decreases your body’s ability to heal and increases your susceptibility to contract gum disease.

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