Swollen Gums: Why Do Gums Swell and Bleed?

Is brushing your teeth painful? Do you find yourself spitting out blood into the sink along with your toothpaste?

You’re not alone. Studies suggest that almost half of all Canadians experience the same thing (to some extent and at some point during their lives).

If you have swollen gums that tend to bleed, then you are likely struggling with periodontal or gum disease. Here’s what you need to know about caring for your gums and why you should take care of the problem ASAP.

What is Gum Disease?

Swollen, bloody gums are the product of inflammation, which is an early stage of periodontal or gum disease.

Gum disease refers to an infection of the tissue surrounding your teeth. It’s usually caused by poor oral hygiene habits: failing to brush regularly and thoroughly or skipping flossing altogether. When you don’t brush well, the plaque left behind builds up and begins to harden.

It starts out in a mild form called gingivitis. But if you don’t take care of it, your gums can become very swollen, red, and sensitive, which is the sign of further infection.

If left untreated for a long time, your gums will become even more tender. The infection can even lead to bone and tooth loss.

How to Deal with Swollen Gums

There are three things you can do to help deal with swollen gums.

The first is to brush and floss gently to avoid further irritation. You shouldn’t stop brushing because your gums hurt: it will only cause the plaque to build up more and cause bacteria to grow.

Second, you can rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution. It will soothe the tissues and get rid of bacteria in your mouth. Stay away from strong mouthwashes, which are likely to bother your gums.

Third, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist for a professional cleaning.

Why Deep Cleaning is so Important for Gum Disease

Once you reach the point where your gums are inflamed and sensitive, there’s not much you can do to turn back the clock at home.

For mild cases of gingivitis, a professional dental cleaning is important. They can remove all traces of plaque from your teeth to help your gums calm down. If your gingivitis progressed into full-blown periodontal disease, you also need a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing).

The deep clean removes the bacteria and plaque from your gums to prevent further infection and preserve your gums, teeth, and jaw bone.

You can then supplement those cleanings by brushing and flossing at home according to your dentist’s instructions.

A Healthy Mouth Needs Healthy Gums

Poor dental hygiene impacts more than your breath and smile. A build-up of plaque and bacteria causes your gums to become infected and then inflamed. Swollen gums are a sign of periodontal disease, and if you don’t protect them early, you could even risk tooth loss.

Professional cleanings by your dentist go a long way to keeping your gums and mouth healthy.

Are your gums sore when you brush your teeth? It’s time to visit the dentist. Schedule your next appointment with our online booking form.