You just finished flossing when you notice your gums are bleeding. Maybe it’s not the first time this has happened, but you shrug it off and figure it’s not a big deal.
The good news is, you’re not alone. It’s extremely common to experience bleeding of the gums, especially after flossing. But is it normal?
The short answer is no. It doesn’t necessarily mean something severe is wrong but left untreated, it could become serious.
Swollen, red and bleeding gums are symptoms of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. It’s caused when plaque builds up around the teeth and gums and irritates the area, sometimes causing a bacterial infection. Sometimes the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. Thankfully, in this early stage of gum disease, the damage can be reversed with treatment from a dental professional.
However, if gum disease is left untreated, it progresses to periodontitis, and the damage is no longer reversible.
Bleeding gums aren’t the only symptom of gingivitis, but sometimes symptoms may go unnoticed or not appear at all. Other possible symptoms include:
- Bad Breath
- Receding Gums
- Loose Teeth
- Tender, Red Gums
- Swollen, Puffy Gums
- Sensitive Teeth
- Pain or Sensitivity
The best way to make sure your bleeding gums aren’t a sign of something more serious is to visit the dentist. During the exam, your dentist will measure your gums to check for inflammation and pockets around the teeth. They may take x-rays to evaluate the bone, depending on the severity. Catching gum disease early is the key to reversing damage with non-invasive treatment. These treatments include:
- Deep Cleaning- a professional deep cleaning using scaling and root planing can be used to remove the tartar build-up from the teeth and gums and help the gums reattach to the teeth.
- Laser- sometimes laser treatments can be used to remove the tartar and infection
- Medications- antibiotic mouthwashes, gels, and microspheres have proven successful at eliminating infections and preventing them from reoccurring right away
- Surgery- in severe cases, surgery may be required
Prevention and early detection are key. A consistent oral hygiene routine and regular professional cleanings and exams will help prevent almost all cases of gum disease. If your gums are bleeding, call us for more information or to schedule an appointment at (602) 957-9643.