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Ask a doctor: “Why do my gums bleed after I brush my teeth, and what should I do about it?” »

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If you notice your gums bleeding after brushing your teeth, you might also have other symptoms, such as tenderness and swelling.

Oral health is very important – and if your gums are bleeding, you should talk to your dentist.

“The gums may begin to appear swollen and become reddish before the gums bleed,” said Alice G. Boghosian, DDS, consumer advisor and spokesperson for the American Dental Association. She practices at Hagopian & Boghosian Dentistry in Glenview, Illinois.

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“If you notice blood in the sink when you brush your teeth, and it lasts for more than two weeks, you should see your dentist, as you may be at risk for gum disease.”

Fox News Digital interviewed dental experts about how to stay healthy, protect your white teeth and gums – read on.

What causes bleeding gums?

According to medical experts, there are many potential causes of bleeding gums.

Woman brushing her teeth

If your gums bleed after brushing your teeth, you should discuss it with your dentist, experts advise. (iStock)

“In some cases, bleeding gums may be a sign of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease,” said Sally J. Cram, DDS, consumer advisor and spokesperson for American Dental. Association. She is a periodontist practicing in Washington, DC.

“Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums and bone surrounding your teeth and is caused by a buildup of plaque.”

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In addition to gums that bleed easily, symptoms of early gum disease can include red, swollen and tender gums and bad breath, she explained.

Many women develop bleeding and swollen gums during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and during their monthly menstrual cycle.

Additionally, Dr. Cram said many women develop bleeding and swollen gums during puberty, pregnancy, menopause and during their monthly menstrual cycle.

“This is due to increased hormone levels, which make the gums more susceptible to plaque and bacteria,” she explained.

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Another potential cause of bleeding gums? It could be a new flossing routine, which could cause gums to bleed at first as they get used to cleaning between teeth, Dr. Cram said.

“It goes away on its own in about a week,” she said.

dental exam

In addition to bleeding gums, if you have symptoms like bad breath or swollen, tender gums and you have had symptoms for more than two weeks, it is best to see your dentist or periodontist. (iStock)

Finally, brushing too hard or incorrectly can cause bleeding gums.

“It’s always wise to ask your dentist and dental hygienist to suggest which toothbrush is right for you and to review how to use it properly,” Dr. Cram suggested.

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Many causes are temporary, like implementing a new flossing routine, or can easily be corrected, like brushing too hard or using the wrong toothbrush.

Still, if you have additional symptoms like bad breath or swollen, tender gums, and you’ve had symptoms for more than two weeks, you should see your dentist or periodontist, Dr. Cram advised.

What other factors can put patients at risk?

Dr. Boghosian of Hagopian & Boghosian said these issues can also increase the risk of gum disease:

  • Poor dental care
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Genetic
  • Crooked and difficult to clean teeth
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • The use of certain medications, including steroids, certain anti-epileptic medications, anti-cancer medications, certain calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives

Why should you report bleeding gums to a dentist?

It’s possible that bleeding gums are a symptom of gum disease, an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth.

dental exam

“Bacteria in the mouth and gum disease have been implicated in higher risks of oral cancer – and although it’s not very common, persistent redness and bleeding of the gums can also be a sign of certain blood disorders such as leukemia.” (iStock)

“Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a major cause of tooth loss in adults,” said periodontist Dr. Cram.

Other warning signs of gum disease, she said, include red, tender gums; gums that have started to pull away from the teeth; persistent bad breath; permanent teeth that move or separate; any changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite; or any changes in the fit of partial dentures.

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“If these symptoms persist for two weeks, you should consult your dentist or periodontist,” Dr. Cram warned.

When can bleeding gums mean a more serious medical problem?

Research between systemic disease and periodontal disease is ongoing, Dr. Cram said.

“Although a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that serious gum disease may be associated with several other health problems such as diabetes or stroke,” she said.

“Bacteria in the mouth and gum disease have also been implicated in higher risks of oral cancer, and although it is not very common, persistent red bleeding from the gums can also be a sign of certain blood disorders such as leukemia.”

Regular dental and periodontal examinations are recommended.

Woman at the dentist

“It is important to brush your teeth twice a day, clean the spaces between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, schedule regular visits to the dentist, and avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.” (iStock)

What will a dentist do to assess?

Treatment for periodontitis can be non-surgical or surgical.

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Treatment methods depend on the type of disease and the course of the disease, said Boghosian of Hagopian & Boghosian.

What can people do at home?

Good home dental care is essential to prevent periodontal disease from getting worse or recurring.

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“To help prevent periodontal disease, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, schedule regular visits to the dentist, and avoid smoking or chew tobacco,” Boghosian recommended.

For more health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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