Most people suffer from bleeding gums at some point in their lives. Few people realise bleeding gums if left untreated can lead on to gum disease such as periodontal disease or gingivitis. Bleeding gums can be the precursor to some serious conditions like heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
If you have bleeding gums there is much more to consider than just the pain and discomfort. If your gums are bleeding there is a route into your bloodstream. Damaging bacteria in your mouth can get into the bloodstream through bleeding gums and cause a range of problems such as: heart attack, stroke, diabetes and pancreatic cancer.
What can cause bleeding and tender gums? Bad dental hygiene is the principal cause. Bacteria can enter the mouth and form the sticky substance called plaque. Plaque turns to tartar which irritates the gums starting the bleeding process.
Hormonal changes can cause gum bleeding especially in women during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Other hormonal problems like diabetes and thyroid disorders can result in an extra flow of blood to the gums which can make them tender and bleed on brushing.
Leukaemia is known to cause gum bleeding. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can cause inflammation of the mouth leading to bleeding gums, sores and ulcers.
What can you do to stop your gums from bleeding? Brush your teeth twice daily and if possible after every meal. Floss between the teeth you cannot reach with the brush. Drink plenty of water during and after a meal. Visit a hygienist regularly (three monthly) to have your teeth cleaned thoroughly. The regular removal of tartar will prevent further incidents of bleeding gums and stop gum shrinkage.
If you smoke stop now, smoking is a major contributor of gum disease and gum shrinkage. Avoid elevated levels of stress, as stress increases hormonal levels which can lead to gum inflammation.
Treatment for bleeding and tender gums should consist of good teeth cleaning practices such as: cleaning and flossing the teeth twice a day combined with regular visits to a hygienist.
Once you notice your gums are starting to bleed it is time to act and reverse the situation before any long term damage is done. If bleeding gums are left without treatment the gums will shrink and the teeth will loosen and eventually fall out. Other teeth in the mouth will move position and possibly chaff causing more sores on the inside of the cheeks and tongue.