Many patients visit our office after noticing a small amount of blood in the sink following brushing or flossing their teeth. Bleeding gums, or gingivitis, is the first sign of gum disease progression. Gum disease is a dental concern caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar near your gum line.
Your healthy soft tissues become inflamed due to the bacteria in the buildup. Left untreated, the bacteria will eat away at your healthy soft tissues, causing a wide range of symptoms, including gum tenderness, discoloration, bad breath, and a receding gum line. Learn how we treat bleeding gums in our Bethesda, MD dentist office below.
Treatment for Bleeding Gums in Bethesda, MD
During your routine preventative dental appointment, one of our skilled dental professionals will perform a dental cleaning and periodontal screening. During the periodontal screening, we evaluate your gums based on their sensitivity and the build-up surrounding them.
We will do our best to remove any build-up that may be causing your gum inflammation. However, if your gingivitis has progressed past the point of being treated with routine cleaning, we may suggest a deep cleaning appointment, also known as periodontal disease treatment. Deep cleaning allows us to remove any bacteria that has made its way below your gum line.
Dr. Khanna can help you maintain your gum health and avoid the progression of gum disease. We recommend that patients schedule routine preventative care appointments once every six months. This allows Dr. Khanna and her dental care team to closely monitor your dental health and address minor issues, such as bleeding gums, before they develop into more serious dental concerns.
The Stages of Gum Disease
There are several different stages of gum disease throughout the condition’s progression.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and the only reversible one. Plaque and tartar build up on the teeth at the gum line, irritating and inflaming the gum tissue. This is due to the bacteria present in the plaque. Many of the early warning signs of this condition are painless and can be difficult to spot. Many adults have this condition and may not even realize it. Bleeding gums are usually the first thing you’ll notice with this condition.
As long as it’s caught early enough, gingivitis is reversible. Usually, we can treat it with diligent oral healthcare. We may require you to come into the dentist office more often than every six months to ensure we clean plaque properly. Sometimes, we may prescribe you an antibacterial oral rinse to reduce the bacteria in your mouth.
Mild Periodontal Disease
At this stage, the condition is no longer reversible. The infection begins to spread and starts attacking your bone structure. The bacteria are more aggressive, and this can lead to bone loss. While we can no longer reverse the condition, we can manage it. We do this with deep cleaning techniques called scaling and root planing.
Pockets form between your gum tissue and jawbone. They fill with debris and bacteria, exacerbating the condition. We clean out these pockets and get rid of any harmful material present. After this, we smooth down the roots of your teeth so that the gum tissue can reattach to the bone properly.
Moderate Periodontal Disease
The bacteria continue to get more aggressive as the condition worsens. Not only are they attacking bone, but they start attacking the bloodstream, too. This transmits infection and inflammation to other areas of your body, leading to serious health problems if left untreated. As with mild periodontal disease, we manage this stage with scaling and root planing.
Severe Periodontal Disease
At this stage, the infection is completely made of disease-causing bacteria. Your gums ooze pus and bleed, and you have severe bad breath that you can’t eliminate. It can hurt to chew food — or even speak. Due to bone and tissue loss, your teeth no longer have a solid foundation. They can loosen or even fall out.
Only treatment options like laser therapy or gum surgery for severe gum disease can manage the condition. If you have severe periodontal disease, we’ll refer you to a trusted local periodontist for the required help.
Bleeding Gums FAQs
Bleeding gums are usually a warning sign of something more serious. Learn more by reading the answers to the following questions.
How can I avoid bleeding gums?
The best way to avoid bleeding gums is to care for your oral health. Good oral hygiene habits include brushing your teeth at least twice daily, flossing once daily, and going to the dentist every six months. Additionally, avoiding tobacco can help as well. Tobacco of any sort causes damage to your gums and increases your risk of developing gum disease.
Is it normal for my gums to bleed a little bit while flossing?
No. Any amount of blood while flossing is abnormal and is a sign of tartar or plaque buildup. Failure to remove this build-up regularly means the development of gum disease is inevitable. The best way to avoid this is to floss daily.
What is the meaning of bleeding gums?
Bleeding gums are a strong indicator of gum disease. Neglecting your teeth and gums will lead to plaque build-up on your teeth, especially along the gum lines. This plaque is filled with bacteria, making your gums become infected and inflamed. Tender gums will easily bleed when flossed or brushed.
When should I be concerned about bleeding gums?
Everyone can experience bleeding gums if they brush extremely hard every day or get something stuck between their teeth. But if your gums are bleeding regularly, especially every time you brush your teeth, that’s a sign of gum disease developing. If it’s happening multiple times a week, it’s time for a dental checkup.
Can a salt water rinse help bleeding gums?
While it shouldn’t be the only treatment, regular saltwater rinses can help your bleeding gums. Warm salt water rinses can reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth and help stop bleeding gums.
Can certain foods help cure bleeding gums?
No select food treats bleeding gums, but certain foods support gum health. Fresh fruits and vegetables are crisp and crunchy, helping to clear plaque away from your gum line and prevent buildup. Whole grains, nuts, tea, and other foods and drinks also help gum health.
Can gingivitis be cured?
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and the only one that can be reversed. Quality oral hygiene and antibiotic rinses reverse this beginning stage of gum disease. However, reversing it is no longer possible once gingivitis progresses into periodontitis.
Can my gums bleed from stress?
Stress can be a factor in why your gums bleed. Stress weakens our immune system, making it more susceptible to disease and infection. You have an increased risk of dental problems, including gum disease and consequences from teeth grinding.
If you are looking for a family dentist office in Bethesda, MD, we hope you will consider Bethesda Family Smiles. Dr. Khanna is known for her compassionate and caring approach to our patients’ oral health needs and aesthetic goals. Our office welcomes new patients of all ages. We look forward to helping you achieve a beautiful and healthy smile. Please schedule an appointment online, and we look forward to seeing you soon.