I Have Bleeding Gums – Should I Be Worried?
One of our email enquiries today asked “I have bleeding gums, should I be worried” and it’s a question that patients ask us regularly. It’s definitely something that many of you are concerned about.
You may not be oozing blood like the timely photo above, but a few spots of blood in the sink in the morning can be a worrying sight.
The short answer to the question is – maybe. The long answer is we really need to have a look in your mouth to tell. But don’t worry, most cases of bleeding gums are easily fixed using straightforward techniques at home.
Commonest Cause of Bleeding Gums
The commonest cause of bleeding gums is gum disease and this letter from the School of Dentistry, University of Birmingham suggests that 90% of UK adults have some form of gum disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease has two forms:
Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis).
This is the mildest form of gum disease and is reversible if treated with help from your dentist.
Inflammation of the ligament which holds the teeth in the bone (periodontitis)
This is a more severe form of gum disease and is irreversible. Without professional treatment periodontitis can result in tooth loss.
How Do I Know If My Bleeding Gums Are Due to Gum Disease
The best way to find out if your bleeding gums are due to gum disease is to come and see us for a dental health check.
As part of this appointment we will listen to your concerns and carry out a thorough check of your gums.
Are Bleeding Gums the Only Sign of Gum Disease?
Bleeding gums are a common sign of gum disease, but not the only one. If you look closely in the mirror you may also see that your gums look red and swollen. Normally the gum between your teeth takes the shape of a sharp pink triangle. If you have gum disease, the gum between your teeth will appear puffy, misshapen and red.
Gum disease. These gums will bleed with brushing and show redness and swelling.
More severe gum disease. You can see plaque and very swollen, red gums which will be sore and bleed easily.
You may also notice that your breath smells, your gums feel tender or your teeth are sore.
If your gum disease is severe you may notice that one or more of your teeth have become loose.
Can I Fix My Gum Disease and My Bleeding Gums?
The good news is that it’s easy to fix mild gum disease (gingivitis). Most gum disease is inflammation of the gums due to the build up of dental plaque on your teeth.
This is reversible and by fixing your mild gum disease you will also stop your gums from bleeding.
What Do I Have To Do To Get Rid Of My Bleeding Gums?
Getting rid of your bleeding gums is a joint effort and one that you play a big role in.
That’s good news. It means that you can keep your gums healthy at home with just your toothbrush and interdental aids.
Treatment of bleeding gums due to mild gum disease doesn’t involve long appointments or expensive treatment.
The first step on the road to gum health is some dental care coaching with our hygienist Laura. A big part of learning how to keep your gums healthy is to learn why and how to brush your teeth more effectively. Learning these techniques doesn’t mean you have to brush your teeth for hours every day.
Watch this video to see how Laura recommends you brush your teeth to prevent bleeding gums.
How Your Hygienist Helps You Get Rid Of Bleeding Gums
There’s a common misunderstanding that the most important part of a hygienist’s job is scaling and polishing your teeth.
In fact it is actually teaching you how to take care of your teeth by yourself at home.
It would be great if we all had a wee hygienist on the shelf in our bathrooms to clean our teeth every night, but as we don’t, the next best thing is for you to learn the secret tips of a hygienist yourself.
The biggest role your hygienist then plays is to remind you every few months how important your dental hygiene is and to reinforce the best techniques with you. They’re your personal dental health motivator and cheerleader and they are the key to keeping your gums healthy.
They will also, importantly, point out any problem areas or any places in your mouth where your teeth may have changed shape as a result of ageing and help you to learn how to deal with these areas.
Find out more here about how a dental hygienist can help you fix your bleeding gums.
Scaling & Polishing – Is It As Important as You Think?
Scaling and polishing is actually secondary to all that.
Scaling is important if you have hardened plaque (tartar). This makes it harder to keep your teeth clean. However, if you can keep your teeth clean by yourself, you may find that very little plaque accumulates, and this is the ideal situation.
Professional teeth polishing is a great treatment we use for incentivizing patients. If you go away from your appointment with your teeth feeling clean and fresh, then you will be more inclined to work hard to keep them that way.
So remember, never underestimate the power of regular coaching in dental hygiene care from your hygienist. It’s not all about the scale and polish. Laura will spend a large part of her time with you recommending the best tools for the job and demonstrating how to use them.
Brushing Helps Bleeding Gums
Brushing definitely helps bleeding gums and gum disease.
At Coatbridge Family Dental Care we love electric toothbrushes for a whole mouth clean and interdental brushes for cleaning the hard to reach areas in between your teeth
As you become more practiced in your brushing technique and you use your interdental aids more often, you’ll find that the amount of bleeding from your gums reduces and when you look in the mirror you’ll notice your gums look pinker, tighter and less swollen. As well as that you’ll find your breath smells much fresher.
Do My Bleeding Gums Mean I’m Brushing Too Hard?
Unfortunately, a number of people who have bleeding gums worry that they’re brushing too hard. The Oral Health Foundation found in their 2019 survey that nearly one-in-five people immediately stop brushing an area of their mouth if it starts bleeding, and almost 1 in 10 (8%) of people actually stop brushing their teeth altogether!
The danger of thinking that brushing makes bleeding gums worse can lead to disastrous results.
When Gum Disease Gets Worse
It is possible for gingivitis to progress to periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease.
Coming to see us for your dental health check if your gums are bleeding, means we can also check how severe your gum disease is.
If your gum disease is more severe, there is a risk of your teeth becoming loose and ultimately being lost. Although it may not be reversible, it is still possible to stabilise your mouth and prevent things from getting any worse.
The sooner we help you to do that, the more likely you are to hold onto your teeth.
Lots of people have bleeding gums. And it’s not something to be scared of or embarrassed about.
It’s something we see all the time and help our patients to fix on a daily basis.
Most of the time it is easily treated by simple techniques you can do at home with a little coaching from your friendly neighbourhood hygienist.
Coming to see us for a dental health check when you notice bleeding gums means we can help to identify the cause, help you to fix it as soon as possible and prevent any long-lasting effects on your smile.
Find Out More
One of the great benefits of the Coatbridge Family Dental Care membership plans is 3 or 6 monthly dental hygiene coaching and treatment appointments with our dental hygienist Laura. Frequency is determined by your need. To find out more, call our team on 01236 421103 or fill in our contact form.
Blog post written 1st November 2021
(Please note prices and information are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change. Please contact us on 01236 421103 or email@example.com for the most up-to-date pricing and information)