It happens to everyone eventually -- they are brushing their teeth when they notice that their gums are bleeding. This many not be a concern if it happens rarely, since the cause is likely from a small injury in the mouth. If you notice blood often, though, you may have a more serious condition. The following can help you understand why your gums may be bleeding.
The main cause of bleeding gums is plaque buildup. Plaque forms on the entire tooth surface, but brushing tends to remove it from everywhere except for along the gum line. The plaque can then begin to extend beneath the gum line, creating a pocket for bacteria and gum infection. This weakening of the gums combined with possible infection is what causes the bleeding each time you brush. Left untreated, gingivitis or periodontal disease can develop -- which can lead to tooth and bone loss. Regular cleanings to remove plaque buildup, combined with daily flossing and brushing, is the best treatment option.
Some health conditions and medications can increase the chances of bleeding gums as well. Pregnant women, for example, often experience bleeding gums but the condition disappears after giving birth. Diabetes can also affect gum health, and many dentists provide special care and hygiene regimens for those with this disease. Those on blood thinners may also experience increased bleeding of the gums. If you suspect medication or a health condition is the cause of the bleeding, verify that this is a plausible side effect with your doctor. Then, consult with your dentist to see if you need to change your dental care routine in any way to account for the effects of your medication on your oral health.
If you are noticing a lot of bleeding that has begun abruptly, then look first to your routine before getting worried. Have you recently started flossing or changed your floss? If so, your gums will need a few days to adjust to the changes. The same is true if you recently got a new toothbrush or upgraded to an electric toothbrush. If bleeding continues for more than a week, then it's time to see your dentist since the adjustment period should only last a few days for those with healthy gums.
If in doubt or if bleeding is unexplained, make an appointment with a local family dentist. Gum disease or infection must be treated early if they are the cause of the bleeding.