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How To Stop Bleeding Gums

how to stop bleeding gums
Published By Dr. Rachel Hall at 17 February, 2024

Oh my God my mouth’s bleeding, quick rush me to the emergency dentist, I’m going to die, I’m freaking out, make it stop, I was only cleaning my teeth and now there’s all this blood in the sink help, help me call the paramedics….

Yeah right, said no one ever because bleeding gums are normal aren’t they?

Dah da, computer says no, incorrect, wrong – it’s not normal and I’m going to tell you why.

Bleeding Gums Aren’t Normal

Bleeding gums might be a common thing but that doesn’t make it normal or ok and by right you should be freaking out if your gums bleed when you brush and do that thing in between your teeth, what’s that called again, yes flossing but you do it so infrequently you can’t remember what it is.

If you washed your hands and blood started dripping out from under your fingernails would you be like oh that’s just normal, nothing to worry about or would you run screaming from the bathroom trying to make it stop… Well of course you’d want to know what the heck was happening and get it sorted so why don’t you have the same level of concern when it comes to your gums?

A little blood in the sink when you clean your teeth isn’t normal. It’s actually a sign of disease, infection and inflammation. It can also be a warning that you are at risk of things like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, dementia and strokes.

That blood could be telling you that you have a nutritional deficiency or a serious underlying health problem like diabetes or leukaemia. Now I’m not trying to freak you out but I’m trying to get you to see that bleeding gums isn’t normal.

Why Do Your Gums Bleed?

So I bet now you’re wondering what you can do about it and how you can make it go away.

Well luckily I’m going to answer that for you later on but first, lets talk about why your gums bleed.

Listen if your gums bleed because bleeding gums is not normal healthy gum should never bleed when you’re brushing or flossing if they do we need to first figure out why there are usually two main reasons that you have bleeding gums one is gingivitis or periodontal disease and the other is a systemic health condition or underlying problem.

I can’t even count the number of times patients have said to me oh my gums bleed but it’s normal.

If your hand was bleeding after you washed it you wouldn’t just casually mention it to your doctor ‘oh by the way I noticed my hand bleeds all the time. That’s just normal right?’

Your gums should not be bleeding so I always tell my patients first let’s figure out why they are bleeding and then we’ll be able to figure out how to stop them from bleeding. Quite simply your gums bleed because they are unhealthy or because you are.

Poor Oral Hygiene and Bleeding Gums

Now some people’s gums only bleed when they floss their teeth but people with more inflamed gums might see bleeding every time they brush their teeth or even if they touch their gums or when eating.

The most common reason for bleeding gums is simply from poor home oral hygiene care and not keeping your teeth clean enough.

When plaque starts to build up on your teeth your body sees that plaque bacteria that shouldn’t be there and if that plaque is hanging out on your teeth and gums for too long your immune system starts rushing antibodies and white blood cells which are in your bloodstream directly to your gums to combat and deal with the bacteria.

And this immune response in combination with the bacteria causes inflammation and then bleeding of the gums.

Bleeding gums are telling you things are out of whack, and so proper brushing and flossing are critical in preventing bleeding gums

You actually do need to brush your gums and massage them with your toothbrush and when flossing and if you don’t it’s only a matter of time before your gums start to bleed.

Make sure you are brushing and flossing, it’s like working out daily the more you work out the less it hurts and the same goes for your gums.

The more you stimulate the gums properly through the less tenderness you will feel so always make sure you brush and floss correctly as well as for long enough. I’ll post some links to those videos for you.

So this kind of answers why your gums bleed and partly how to stop it but what if your gum health is really bad or there are other things going on – because no amount of brushing and flossing, mouth washing or oil pulling is going to fix that on its own.

If you have tried brushing and flossing more and your gums keep bleeding, then you really need to make a dentist appointment so we can work out what is going on and how to treat it for you and with you.

You most likely need a professional cleaning and maybe even a deep clean called gum therapy.

But in the majority of bleeding gums cases the main cause is gingivitis which means inflammation of your gums.

If your gums are inflamed, they become swollen. They bleed as they’re full of blood vessels so when they get inflamed, they bleed far easier because of the plaque bacteria sitting on and under your gums causing inflammation.

Gingivitis is reversible and with a proper dental cleaning and better home care those bleeding gums will stop.

Severe Gum Disease and Bleeding Gums

However, if you do not reverse gingivitis it can progress into a more advanced stage of periodontal disease, periodontitis – inflammation of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in.

At this point, those bacteria have snuck their way below your gum line underneath your gums which can lead to bone loss which we do not want because bone is what holds your teeth in.

To Stop Bleeding Gums Visit Your Dentist

So, it’s super important to visit your dentist and find out why your gums are bleeding. If it’s gingivitis work hard at home to keep them clean, if it’s periodontitis also work hard at home and get that deep cleaning and see the dentist regularly about every 3 months to help prevent the gums from flaring up again.

Bleeding Gums and Your Systemic Health

Now early I said there were two reasons you gums bleed and this second reason is because of systemic problems.

What are those things that can make your gums bleed easily: well firstly diabetes and high blood sugars is linked to bleeding gums so are things like deficiency of iron, vitamin C, zinc, B12, and Vitamin D.

Diabetes makes you more prone to infections and that means your gums will bleed more easily if they aren’t kept really clean.

So, when I see patients whose gums don’t respond well to treatment I consider a systemic or vitamin deficiency and encourage a blood test and to see the doctor.

How To Stop Bleeding Gums

Remember your gums aren’t going to heal overnight and it may take a couple of weeks of your new improved oral hygiene routine for things to get back on track so don’t give up or think you must be diabetic.

Give it time and it after two weeks of better care things should be back on track.

Don’t try and go it alone first see the dentist and have them remove any hardened plaque called tartar because if there is tartar on your teeth or under your gums you can brush and brush and brush and you can floss until you’re blue in the face and it will not come off and your gums won’t get better.

Tartar needs to be professionally removed and then you can focus on maintaining clean teeth and healthy gums.

Smoking and Gum Problems

Now there is one exception to the rule when it comes to bleeding gums – if you’re someone who smokes your mouth might not bleed even if it’s infected because of the changes in the blood supply to your mouth that smoking causes.

If you smoke get regular gum exams to make sure there’s no periodontal disease happening without you knowing about it.

A Little Blood In the Sink – How To Stop Bleeding Gums

So the next time you see blood in the sink know it’s not normal and it’s your gums telling you they need better care or your body letting you know something is out of balance.

Holistic Dental Care Brisbane

For all you dental care needs from bleeding gums, toothache, safe amalgam removal, teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry Evolve Dental has you covered.

Give us a call today 07 3720 1811 or book your dental check-up online and see how we can help you to have a healthy smile for a health life.

  • Dr. Rachel Hall

    Dr. Rachel Hall

    Rachel is the founder and principal dentist at Evolve Dental Healing with over 30 years experience, practising holistically since 2001. Not your typical dentist, Rachel is a passionate opinion leader, challenging convention to empower people to make better dental and health choices, helping thousands to have healthy natural smiles. A respected writer and presenter on holistic dentistry, health and wellness it is Rachel’s mission to revolutionise the way people look at their dental health.

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