Bleeding Gums? Should You Be Worried?

February 17, 2016

Your toothbrush completes another pass around your gum line, you rotate your wrist as the bristles get the top the teeth and do one last pass along the back teeth for good measure. You make your mouth a bit wider to withdraw the toothbrush. You feel good – it’s a small accomplishment, but there’s a feeling of pride that goes with keeping up on your hygiene. You tilt your head forward and spit into the sink, and notice an odd mixture of color sinking towards the drain. It’s rustic brown, made lighter from mixing with the white and blue of the paste. You spit again to make sure, and this time the content is less diluted. The color is richer and it’s easy to tell what it is – blood.

You’re hardly alone. It happens to more people than may you think. But what does it mean? Some may simply pass it off as a sign that you need a new toothbrush (worn bristles irritating the gums), or a result of aging.  Unfortunately, bleeding gums is not a good sign and must be investigated.

When your gums bleed from brushing, it’s because they’re swollen. While there are a number of factors that contribute to gum inflammation, such as poor dietary habits, smoking tobacco and even stress, the result is always the same: Gingivitis. Our mouths are full of bacteria (many of it’s helpful) but when we fail to practice effective and consistent hygiene, or practice unhealthy habits, harmful bacteria will coat the teeth and gums in a barely-visible film called plaque. This film harms and erodes the gums, usually slowly over a period of time; that’s why bleeding of the gums tends to surprise people when it happens. Aside from teeth discoloration, there aren’t many overt signs of plaque build-up visible to the naked eye. The bleeding is a major warning sign that we finally notice after the damage has been done.

Gingivitis is a mild form of Gum (Periodontal) disease. Fortunately, at the early stages it’s completely reversible. If bleeding of the gums is something you’ve recently noticed, then there’s still time to improve your brushing and flossing efforts and address any other factors that might be contributing to it. In either case, we still recommend you make an appointment with your dentist or personal physician (preferably both). Getting a check-up and having your teeth cleaned, is in fact, just what the doctor ordered.

Gums bleed as a warning sign. Your body is reaching out to you, trying to let you know you’re hurting and in danger. Please listen to it. If you’re interested in getting a check-up, or would like to know more, please check with your local Gahanna, Westerville and Johnstown, Ohio areas for a dentist. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.


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