When Should I Be Concerned with Bleeding Gums?
When you finish brushing your teeth, you shouldn’t have a bloody toothbrush! Sometimes it is just a little blood that is coughed up after brushing is finished. Even a few drops is not normal. This symptom should not be overlooked by telling yourself that you have brushed your teeth a little too hard and that it is nothing at all. If the gum is bleeding, there is a problem.
Too aggressive brushing
If the gums are bleeding, it is a sign that brushing is too vigorous and it is not the right thing to do. Usually this happens when you brush your teeth horizontally from front to back instead of from the gum to the tooth. In extreme cases ... in addition to the bleeding, it can cause irreversible damage. The gum retracts and the teeth are hollowed out by real notches.
How to interpret bleeding gums
Most often when the gums bleed, it is because of bacteria. Bacteria are naturally present in our mouths and if we do not brush our teeth regularly, they settle on them with food debris to form dental plaque. It will irritate and attack the gum, which reddens, swells and starts to bleed. This is called gingivitis. Clearly, it is an inflammation of the gum tissue. Gums swell because they get stuffed with immune cells that rush through the bloodstream to try to defend themselves against bacteria. As an added bonus, inflammation is often accompanied by pain. And the last little bonus is that by attacking the gums the bacteria release residue that causes bad breath.
Gingivitis far from rare
80% of the population will be affected by gingivitis in their lifetime. Insufficient brushing is the cause of most of this gingivitis, but it is not the only cause. What is less well known is that hormonal disturbances such as puberty, menopause and pregnancy can cause gingivitis. In the latter case, it is called pregnancy gingivitis. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and some pregnant women experience bleeding from just biting into an apple. With nausea and profuse bleeding gums, they stopped brushing their teeth in the morning because they say it is hell. But beware, it is a vicious circle, the lack of hygiene maintains gingivitis. In this case, and in all cases of gingivitis, you should continue to brush your teeth even if it is bleeding with a soft toothbrush. This is the sine qua non for everything to be in order when the hormonal changes are over.
Gingivitis is reversible. With regular descaling and impeccable brushing, healthy gums can be found. The problem is if you let it hang out, you risk what is called periodontitis.
There are periodontal pockets that will form, these are the kinds of little niches between the remaining bone and the tooth. They are perfect reservoirs for bacteria and tartar which maintain the disease. The periodontium is what surrounds the tooth. The gum is obviously part of it, but there is also the bone in which the teeth are engrained. If dental plaque and tartar are not removed, then some bacteria can attack the bone.
The problem is, once the bone is destroyed, you can't go back, it's irreversible. One of the signs are the small black triangles between the teeth which are typical of chronic periodontitis in people 50-60 years old. We must act urgently so as not to lose even more bone, if we do not want the teeth to come loose and end up falling out.
Are bacteria alone involved?
There are other factors that come into play, bacteria alone are not enough. There is a genetic predisposition in the severe forms of these diseases, favored by tobacco, stress, immune diseases, unbalanced diabetes.
Treatment for periodontitis
We relearn the hygiene rules and a classic descaling must be done. We do several close sessions to eliminate tartar and all bacteria under the gums in depth. In maintenance it will be sessions every 3 to 6 months. If that is not enough, we can intervene surgically by opening the gum to go clean directly at the level of the pockets. Antibiotic treatments can also be combined with very aggressive bacteria.
Towards a sign of more general diseases
Bleeding gums can be a sign of a bleeding problem if you have hemophilia or leukemia. It can also be a sign of serious vitamin deficiency, which is not the majority of cases but that is why it is important to see your dentist if this ever happens.