Understanding the Causes of Bleeding Gums

Understanding the Causes of Bleeding Gums

0 June 25, 2024

You might have definitely witnessed at least one dental advertisement in your life which shows a person biting into an apple to witness blood coming out from their gums and the infamous lines “ kya aapke masudon mein takleef hai?” endorsed by several toothpaste brands giving out solutions for bleeding gums by adding salt, clove, mint and what not but have rarely seen anyone commercially explaining the reasons for bleeding from gums.

Finally, the dentists had to take matters into their own hands, here is a simple explanation of what exactly is bleeding gums and what causes it. Let’s read on.

What is bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums is a condition in which blood flows out from between the gum-tooth margin due to various reasons. Bleeding gums is a sign of unhealthy gums.

However, there are times when gums can bleed even when healthy. Read further and you will understand how.

Types of bleeding gums

Bleeding gums can be acute or chronic based on their duration. 

Acute: Acute bleeding occurs for a short duration. It occurs and stops after some time. In this type of bleeding, the gums do not have to be in a diseased condition previously. Acute bleeding can occur in healthy gums as well.

  • Cause : 

• Trauma – Accidental trauma or injury caused can lead to acute bleeding. It can be due to :   

 • Aggressive brushing 

• Insertion of sharp objects like pins, toothpicks, needles etc. 

• Improper flossing

• Foreign particles stuck in the gums.

  • Location and duration :  It is limited to a certain area in which the injury occurred and usually stops after some time.

•  Bleeding is accompanied by swelling and pain in the region.

  • Treatment : It will depend on the cause. 

•If a foreign object is lodged, it needs to be removed. 

• Salt water mouth rinsing should be done to avoid infections.

• Ointments available in the form of gum paints can be used.

Acute bleeding gums are generally not a big concern and heal on their own in a day or two. However in some cases, it might lead to infection or other problems. So, a visit to the dentist can also be beneficial for added precaution.

Chronic : Chronic bleeding gums is a condition in which the patient experiences bleeding from the gums over a long period of time. It doesn’t usually stop easily like acute bleeding gums. In this case, the gums are most likely to be diseased.

Chronic bleeding gums are a common sign of gum diseases.

  • Cause : 

• Gingivitis : Chronic gingival bleeding occurs during inflammation of gums. Gingivitis mostly occurs due to unhealthy gums. Gums which are not cleaned regularly and have plaque collected in them often bleed chronically. Even a slight touch of the toothbrush can lead to bleeding. Gum might appear swollen.

• Periodontitis : This is the advanced stage of gingival disease after gingivitis and has bleeding that occurs spontaneously or even at slight touch. Teeth might be loose in this case.

• Systemic conditions : Systemic diseases such as pregnancy, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases have gingivitis as a symptom and thus bleeding gums too. 

• Chronic bleeding gums can also be due to deleterious habits like smoking or tobacco chewing.

  • Location & duration: Chronic bleeding gums can be generalized or localized i.e. there can be bleeding from the entire gums or from some region depending upon the intensity of the causative agent. 

As already mentioned, gums bleed for a longer time and spontaneously. 

  • Treatment : 

• As the bleeding won’t stop on its own, medical intervention is needed.

• A visit to the dentist for a diagnosis of the condition properly is advised.

• Scaling, a procedure to remove plaque and tartar in the swollen gums to bring them back to normal health should be done.

• If the periodontal condition is worse, curettage and root planing is also to be done. In this procedure, the cleaning is done till the root of the teeth.

• Management of underlying health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease also needs to be looked after. 

• Proper medications and ointments need to be prescribed.

• In cases of habits, the habit needs to be given up.

Bleeding gums aren’t as simple as they make it look in the advertisement.  So the toothpaste alone won’t solve it. Visit your dentist and keep track of your oral health.

-Dr. Nehal

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