Generally speaking, bleeding gums are a sign that professional dental care is necessary. This is because the most common cause of bleeding gums is a buildup of plaque and tartar along the gum line causing inflammation in the gums — an early form of gum disease called gingivitis . Left untreated, gingivitis may progress to a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis .
Identifying The Root Cause Of Bleeding Gums Is Important
The context in which you experience bleeding gums is important.
For example, you may notice your gums bleed more (for a brief time) if you begin to floss more frequently or get a toothbrush with harder bristles . This type of bleeding event is largely unconcerning, so long as your gums bleed less — and ultimately stop bleeding — over time as you acclimate to your new dental routine.
Yet some medical conditions and medications (like leukemia, pregnancy and other hormonal conditions, and blood thinners) increase gum sensitivity, leading to an increased number of bleeding events . In these instances, gum sensitivity and bleeding events can cause gingivitis and advanced gum disease, so working with a qualified medical professional to understand and manage causes that are unrelated to your dental hygiene practices is critical .
Understanding Gum Disease
As plaque and bacteria accumulate near the gum line, they release toxins that irritate and inflame the surrounding tissue. Likewise, the above-listed conditions lead to increased gum inflammation and sensitivity. In response to this inflammation, the body begins to naturally produce enzymes — to fight bacteria and toxins — that break down bone and connective tissue around the teeth [4, 2]. This causes teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.
The Modern Prevalence Of Gum Disease
Historically speaking, this type of gum disease process was not particularly prevalent among early humans or our pre-Victorian ancestors because their diets were low in sugar and carbohydrates and their lifespans were relatively short . Yet, today, gum disease is much more prevalent and problematic. More specifically:
- 11% of the global population suffers from severe gum disease .
- Seven in ten Canadians will develop gum disease in their lifetime .
- As much as 20% of Canadians currently have undiagnosed gum disease .
- Dentists in Vancouver and other provinces have noted a recent rise in the number of older patients treated for gum disease, suggesting that the prevalence of gum disease among Canadians is increasing .
Consequences Of Gum Disease
Our understanding of the consequences of untreated gum disease increases parallel to the number of people diagnosed with and treated for various degrees of gum disease. For example, any dentist in Vancouver can now tell you that irregular attendance at routine dental checkups dramatically increases the prevalence and severity of gum disease .
Moreover, Canadian health authorities and dental health experts can now empirically link gum disease not only to tooth loss, but to other severe health consequences like heart cardiovascular and respiratory disease, strokes, and osteoporosis .
When To Contact A Dentist In Vancouver About Bleeding Gums
As a rule, if your gums bleed while eating or regularly while you are brushing, flossing, or applying/removing dental appliances (like retainers or dentures), you should contact a dentist in Vancouver immediately. Frequent bleeding of the gums under these conditions is a concerning indication of the likely presence of gum disease or, in the case of bleeding associated with dental appliances, a need for professional fitting/adjustment [9, 1].
At-Home Steps To Stop Bleeding Gums
If your gums bleed only infrequently or have recently begun bleeding, you may be able to manage mild or early-onset gum disease at home. For example, making simple dietary changes — including reducing carbohydrate intake and taking certain vitamin supplements — can dramatically reduce inflammation in gum tissue and the resultant gum disease .
Similarly, making positive changes to your dental hygiene routine — like investing in high-quality fluoride toothpaste, fluoride oral rinses, brushing twice per day and flossing daily — can help control and cure gum disease in its early stages and keep it from reoccurring .
That said, the only guaranteed way to stop bleeding gums associated with gum disease is to contact a dentist in Vancouver for immediate treatment and to receive definitive recommendations for effective ongoing at-home care.
Try Smile Well Dental. Our dentists will help you resolve your bleeding gum issue, and leave you with healthy and clean gums and teeth.