We often have patients reporting that their gums bleed during brushing or eating or even spontaneously, and this is often a cause of anxiety.
The most common cause of bleeding gums is gum disease. Gum disease means that the gum tissues are inflamed. This inflammation is most often caused by a deposit of plaque and calculus (soft and hard debris) , which act as an irritant, around the gum lines. Inflamed gums usually look red, swollen and bleed easily. The more severe the inflammation, the more severe the bleeding.
In the early stages of gum inflammation, this is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible. When the irritant is removed, the gums are able to recover and stop bleeding.
However, continuous inflammation over a long period of time can lead to irreversible changes where the gums recede. This more advanced state of disease is known as periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to teeth becoming loose and eventually falling out. Periodontitis requires immediate professional treatment to stop its progression.
Inflamed gums that bleed easily can make other dental treatment more challenging. It is important that prior to more complex dental treatment such as cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, implant placement, and even filllings, that the gums are as healthy as possible.
The best way to prevent gum disease is with good oral hygiene both by adequate tooth brushing and flossing as well as professional cleans on a regular basis.
While bleeding of the gums from gum disease is not life-threatening, it is indicative of chronic inflammation of the gums and we recommend that you seek advice from your dentist as soon as possible.