One of the most common scenario seen while routine brushing at one point of our lives or another. This should not be taken lightly as it could be a simple injury due to brushing hard as the bristle of the brush could be too hard or frayed. Or, it could be a sign of gum disease, i.e. Gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of gums i.e. red, swollen gums that may bleed while brushing and will cause bad breath.
The most common cause of Gingivitis is Plaque buildup on teeth. Plaque is a naturally occurring biofilm formed by bacteria adhering to the tooth and gums. Gingivitis can be caused by improper oral hygiene as the bacteria and plaque continue to infect gums.
Plaque is usually cleaned by brushing but if the area near the neck of the tooth is not brushed well plaque mineralizes to form tartar/calculus. This allowed even more plaque to adhere to the tooth hence, leading to severity of gum disease.
To diagnose the cause of bleeding gums you need to visit a dental professional to rule out gum disease. Dental professional will advise you an oral prophylaxis/ scaling and polishing to remove plaque and deposits to return gums to healthy state. The dentist also teaches you correct technique of brushing, flossing to clean effectively and minimize plaque buildup for future. Dentist also recommends follow up to evaluate and recommends quarterly or semiannual cleanings depending on situation.
Gum disease treatment is important if lead untreated could lead to periodontal disease and teeth can get loose and fall out eventually.
Other causes of gingivitis are smoking, chewing tobacco, crooked, rotated, and overlapping teeth. Also seen due to hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, menopause as the vascularity to gums increases. Stress, mouth breathing, poor nutrition e.g.: high carb diet and reduced water intake can cause gingivitis. Diabetes and certain medications also cause gingivitis. Other non-plaque induced bleeding is seen in blood disorders, leukemia, clotting disorders. Aspirin allergy, vitamin C deficiency causes bleeding gums. Dentures, braces if irritate gums cause bleeding gums.
Again the dentist can help diagnose the cause and treatment can be made to stop symptoms.
Dr Husna Vhora