Are there red marks left when you bite off the apple? Does the spit out toothpaste contain blood after brushing your teeth? Or do you have a metallic taste in your mouth? These can be indications of gum inflammation, also known as the gingiva.
Bleeding gums are a serious warning signal from your body: It speaks for an inflammation of the entire gums. We know this in specialist circles as periodontal disease. This is a serious disease, which in the worst case not only leads to tooth loss, but can also cause heart and circulatory diseases, osteoporosis, or Alzheimer’s. A preliminary stage is superficially inflamed gums (gingivitis) – bleeding gums can also express this. If you notice regular bleeding gums, a visit to your dentist is essential.
Causes: why do the gums bleed?
As with all inflammation, your body tries to become active on its own. By increasing blood flow to the affected area, it tries to flush out the bacteria.
Symptoms of gingivitis:
- And pain.
The gums also swell, can take on a crimson color when the blood vessels expand and react sensitively when brushing or biting your teeth.
Causes of bleeding gums include:
- Hormonal changes (pregnancy),
- Bacteria / poor oral hygiene,
- Mechanical pressures (protruding filling edges),
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Or chemical processes.
1. The most common cause of bleeding gums and periodontal disease: poor oral hygiene
Irregular tooth brushing and inadequate oral hygiene are the most common causes of bleeding of the gingiva, the gums. A thin layer of plaque forms within a short time after eating. If the teeth are brushed too seldom, this layer thickens. Ultimately, the plaque manifests itself in solid form as tartar, which offers particularly moral conditions for the bacteria in the plaque. Over time, these bacteria can spread to your gums. Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (inflammation of the periodontium) develop.
2. Bleeding gums because of hormonal changes during pregnancy
Correct brushing technique and thorough oral hygiene are even more important during pregnancy and breastfeeding than with non-pregnant women. This is the only way to actively prevent pregnancy-induced gingivitis or periodontitis.
Hormonal restructuring in the body during pregnancy means that your body reacts more easily to bacterial deposits. The plaque irritates more quickly and makes the gums bleed faster. Professional teeth cleaning, checking your teeth at the beginning of a pregnancy, and good oral hygiene can prevent this.
Fillings that have been placed in the interdental space beyond the tooth boundaries create a niche for bacteria. This often happens because of old amalgam fillings. The permanent colonization with harmful bacteria leads to gingivitis. Thoroughly brushing your teeth rarely helps either – the bristles of the toothbrush do not reach these niches. It bleeds.
In contrast to bleeding gums with inadequate oral hygiene, in this case, the gums bleed selectively: directly on the filling. The recession of the gums and gum pockets are the result. Your dentist will check freshly placed filling margins with a probe or floss and use it to check the potency of the interdental space.
The same applies to removable dentures: Excessive pressure loads irritate the gums (gingiva) and inflammation occurs. These are painful and not always easy to fix. Without dentures, patients often feel uncomfortable speaking. If they cannot wear the dentures because of pressure sores, it is difficult to ingest food. Many patients then wear the dentures after all. It is important to break this vicious circle and remove the pressure points on the dentures. This is often just a slight correction to the denture. The gums can heal, and the bleeding gums disappear.
First steps: How to protect yourself from bleeding gums
You can best protect yourself by:
- Regular brushing and proper dental care
- Regular check-ups with your dentist
- Professional teeth cleaning once or twice a year
- Avoid risk factors such as smoking
- Healthy eating
1. Brush your teeth regularly
The best protection against bleeding gums is not to let inflammation of the gums develop. Those who brush their teeth regularly and properly in the mornings and evenings effectively protect themselves and their gingiva from periodontitis. The most effective cleaning is with an electric toothbrush.
It is important not to hesitate to brush your teeth, even in painful and bleeding areas. Here it can make sense to switch from a hard toothbrush to a soft toothbrush for a few days until the inflammation has subsided again. We particularly recommend additional mouth rinses for patients with restricted mobility, for whom not all teeth can be reached and cleaned intensively.
2. Regular check-ups and professional tooth cleaning at the dentist
Regular check-ups with your dentist are one of the most important preventive measures against periodontal disease. Professional teeth cleaning is recommended once or twice a year.
Patients often notice inadequate fillings because of food residues remaining between the teeth. Don’t forget to tell your dentist about this at one of your check-ups.
3. Avoid risk factors
Smoking constricts your blood vessels, so that blood flow to the gums is also changed. Besides, it lowers the immune system. It closely relates bleeding gums to smoking.
Protect yourself effectively against heart disease with healthy gums
In the mouth, there is a constant interplay between bacterial defense and bacterial multiplication. The whole is called oral flora. If the bacterial multiplication gets out of hand because of a lack of oral hygiene, various diseases develop in the mouth. The best known are tooth decay and inflammation of the gums (periodontitis). But poor oral hygiene can also provoke heart infections.
Streptococci, spherical bacteria, are part of the healthy oral flora. However, some sub form can reproduce well in plaque and are also known to cause heart infections. We call this Streptococcus mutans. They then particularly like to attack the inner lining of the heart muscle, also known as the endocardium. Endocarditis is the result. The risk of a heart attack increases. That is why it is important not to let tooth decay develop or to let the dentist fix it quickly.