What Causes Bleeding Gums?

In most cases, gums bleed because bacteria has set in and caused an infection known as gingivitis, or gum disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) about half of Americans older than 30 have it. The disease is typically caused by poor oral hygiene. When plaque is not adequately removed from the teeth at the gum line, the gums can become inflamed. Sometimes when the plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar, which can only be removed with dental tools. If left untreated, tartar will lead to increased bleeding and a worse form of gum disease called periodontitis. Aside from poor oral hygiene, there are a few other causes of bleeding gums.

Improper brushing or flossing technique

Not brushing enough can cause bleeding gums, but brushing too hard can also cause it. Choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles, and always brush in a gentle, circular motion. Brushing into the gumline in a back and forth motion can cause irritation. When flossing, carefully scrape the edges of the tooth near the gums; do not push down too hard or too vigorously.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy

Because of hormonal changes during pregnancy, blood flow increases significantly and can cause the symptoms of gingivitis. This is usually referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis,” and about 50 to 70 percent of women will develop it during their pregnancy. This hormonal change can cause the gums to be very sensitive and often bleed.

Bleeding disorders

Diseases that prevent the blood from clotting, such as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) can cause bruising and excessive bleeding. The use of blood thinners can also cause the gums to bleed.

Wearing ill-fitting dentures

Wearing ill-fitting dentures can also cause gum irritation and bleeding. Dr. Fiss can help address this at his practice in Chicago.

If you have any concerns about your oral health, Dr. Benjamin S. Fiss will be happy to assess your condition and propose treatment options. Please schedule an appointment by calling (312) 951-5230 or filling out our online contact form.