Why Do My Teeth Bleed When I Brush?

When most people think about their dental health, the majority of their focus is usually on preventing cavities and keeping teeth bright white and beautiful. But it is important to pay attention to your gums, too. Your gums are not just an accessory or an afterthought, they play a major role not only in your dental health but in your overall well-being. Gums help keep your teeth anchored and stable, they protect your jaw, and they help supply blood to your teeth and mouth areas.

Bleeding gums often is an early sign of poor dental hygiene and poor dental care practices. Gums can easily become inflamed and bleed if brushing and flossing are not done correctly or often enough and there is a build-up of plaque along the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria that covers your teeth and gums; this film can harden and build up, working its way under your gums and causing a problem with your teeth and gums.

If the plaque is not removed then the bacteria that it harbours can spread through the teeth and gums and cause tooth decay and advanced cases of gum disease.

Understanding the Dangers of Gum Disease

According to research that has been conducted over the years by dental experts, more than three-quarters adults in the US who are age 35 and older will develop periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, at some point and time in their lives. While most diagnoses are for the less severe type known as gingivitis, as much as 15% of the population will get diagnosed with the more serious type of gum disease called periodontitis.

If someone does not follow proper dental hygiene, bacteria can congregate along the teeth and gums. These bacteria feed on sugars in the foods and drinks that coat the teeth between brushing and flossing. The bacteria produce acids that can damage the teeth and gum tissues which in turn, can cause your gums to get red, feel sore, and bleed easily during brushing. For many people who end up with gingivitis, this inflammation is not overly painful which makes it difficult to catch if proper dental care is not followed because there is little to no pain to warn that something is wrong. If you catch gingivitis early, it can be reversed and healed with proper oral hygiene.

This is why it is important to keep all dental care appointments and to tell your dentist right away if you notice any warning signs for the early stages of gum disease such as:

  • Changes in the way teeth fit together on biting, or in the fit of partial dentures
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Gums that bleed during and after toothbrushing
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
Advanced Gum Disease- Periodontist

When early-stage gum disease advances and is not controlled or treated it develops into periodontitis, a very serious condition where the gums and bone that the teeth anchor into can be severely weakened. The bacteria that are attacking the teeth and gums produce a variety of toxic substances that harm your gums and cause them to become infected. If the infection gets severe enough and is not treated and controlled it can spread to other teeth and other areas of the gums. You may have exceptionally swollen, painful gums that are likely to bleed during brushing and even during other activities like eating or drinking.

If left untreated, periodontitis will weaken the bone of the jaw and can even cause bone loss. The combined damage to the gums and the bone structure of the jaw can lead to the loss of one or multiple teeth. The infection can also get into your bloodstream and spread throughout the body where it can affect major organs and cause major problems with your overall health.

Contact Your Dentist

A regular dental check-up that is done by your dentist or dental team is extremely important because it is these one-on-one checks that help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months or as recommended by your dental professional. These visits are important because your dental team will be able to spot potential issues much sooner than you will based on symptoms you see or feel. This means treatments can start sooner and you will have less chance of major side effects or complications. So, keep those dental appointments and if you have not seen your dentist in a while, schedule an appointment today!