You’re brushing your teeth one night as you normally do, and when you look down in the sink, you see a distinctive pink color. Your gums have been bleeding whenever you clean your teeth for about a week now. “What is causing this?” you think to yourself. Bleeding gums are a common symptom of many different things, so today, we’re going to let you know what may be causing it as well as what you can do to make them stop.
You Might Be Brushing or Flossing Too Hard
Your gums are actually quite sensitive, so if you’re using too much pressure whenever you brush or floss, you might simply be damaging them. You shouldn’t have to push down with your brush to effectively clean your teeth. Also, this may be a sign that you need a softer toothbrush as well. Many people think a hard-bristle brush will do a better job of cleaning their teeth, but often, it can hurt the gums and even wear down the enamel. If your gums consistently bleed, try to lighten up the next time you brush and see if it helps!
You Might Have Gum Disease
Bleeding gums are a very common sign of early-stage gum disease, or gingivitis. This is an infection that occurs on your gums and the bone surrounding your teeth, and it’s usually brought on by a lack of oral hygiene. If your gums still bleed after brushing more gently, you likely have gum disease, so you should contact a dentist for treatment. Often, they’ll be able to handle early gum disease with just a simple dental cleaning, so don’t delay making an appointment!
It Might Be Because of Medication
Certain medications make your gums more likely to bleed, such as blood thinners. Some anti-seizure, blood pressure, and immune-suppressing medications can actually make the gums grow too quickly, causing you to have more sensitive and delicate tissue that is easily damaged. Also, antidepressants, antihistamines, and high blood pressure medicines can often cause dry mouth, which can lead to gum disease.
You Have an Underlying Medical Condition
Not to scare you, but bleeding gums can also be an indicator of other serious medical conditions, such as hemophilia or von Willebrand disease (which inhibit clotting), leukemia, diabetes, cirrhosis, and more. Obviously, if you have any of these problems, you’ll be experiencing many other symptoms in addition to bleeding gums, so if your gums are your only issue, you likely don’t have any of these diseases.
What Should You Do?
If bleeding gums are a persistent problem for you, the best things you can do are consistently clean your teeth to prevent gum disease and regularly see a dentist. They’ll keep an eye on your gums and provide specialized treatments for gum disease if they see any signs of it (which are called periodontal therapy). Typically, this is all it takes for you to stop seeing pink in the sink. If the issue persists, your dentist can advise you on what to do next.
About the Author
Dr. Chris Haag is a family, restorative, and cosmetic dentist based in Lincoln, NE. He currently practices at Pioneer Greens Dentistry, and he can be reached through his website or by phone at (402) 483-7502.