Bleeding gums

A very high percentage of the population have some area in their mouths where the gums bleed when teeth are brushed. This is called ‘gingivitis’ and if it persists for a significant time it can progress to actual bone loss from gum disease, also called ‘periodontitis’.

Generally for gums to bleed, it suggests that when we brushed yesterday, we left some plaque (white sticky bacteria) in that area. Our immune system responds by sending more blood and repair cells to the area – which makes the gums red and swollen. Then gums bleed easily when touched.

To stop the gum bleeding brush and floss the area that bleeds thoroughly for 3 or 4 days, ignore any bleeding and the bleeding should stop – because we are removing the bacteria that irritating the gum. (Often people are more timid brushing if it causes bleeding, so things often get even worse). Don’t worry about making it bleed, brush thoroughly for a few days and the bleeding should stop.

If it doesn’t, see your dentist in case there is something else causing the bleeding gums.

If you haven’t had a scale and polish from your dentist for some months, then the tartar which builds up and irritates the gums could be a cause of gum bleeding too, so you need to have regular visits to your dentist.