Patients are often worried about red, swollen, and bleeding gums. While this is understandable, and you should absolutely see a dentist to have it checked out, there are several common causes. The good news is that not all of them are cause for concern.

We all know brushing and flossing protects our teeth from cavities.  In our quest to do a thorough job, we may accidentally brush too hard. If your brushing routine is the cause of your bleeding gums, try a different toothbrush. While brushes with medium and hard bristles are available on the market, we recommend a soft toothbrush. You may feel that the harder toothbrushes do a more thorough job cleaning your teeth but they can cause your gums to bleed and damage the enamel on your teeth.

Flossing too roughly can also cause your gums to bleed. Unlike toothbrushes, flosses don’t come in different “hardnesses”, so there’s no easy swap out. Try to be gentler. Don’t jam the floss down between your teeth. If you aren’t flossing roughly, think about any changes you may have recently made to your flossing routine. Did you forget to floss for a few days? Did you change the brand of floss you use?

Let’s say you’ve checked your oral hygiene routine and found nothing unusual. There are other possible causes for bleeding gums, such as medications and gum disease. The American Dental Association lists blood thinners and anti-clotting medications as possible causes because they limit the blood’s ability to clot, which makes your mouth more likely to bleed if a piece of food hits your gums the wrong way.

If you aren’t on those medications, plaque-creating bacteria on your teeth may be causing gum disease and your gums to bleed. In the United States, ¾ of all adults have some form of gum disease. Most causes of gum disease are the less severe form, gingivitis, which can be controlled with good oral hygiene habits. However, 5 to 15 percent of cases are the more serious form, periodontitis, which can cause tissue and bone damage in your mouth.

Regardless of the cause of your bleeding gums, Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts will be able to help find what is causing your discomfort and address the problem. Dr. Makrauer can ensure your routine is professionally approved!