At some point or another, your gums have probably bled. These oral tissues are as vulnerable as they are vital. While you may imagine that a dentist like Dr. Cindy Flanagan is primarily concerned with your teeth, our Houston dental team is actually just as interested in ensuring that you have healthy gums. Your gums are an essential aspect of your oral health. Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize this, so they may ignore important symptoms such as bleeding during brushing, flossing, and other activities. Understanding the source of this significant symptom can help you take better care of your smile. In the following blog, Dr. Flanagan explains five reasons your gums may bleed.
1. Gum disease.
In most cases, gum tissue bleeds due to periodontal infection. The same bacteria that can coat your teeth and lead to cavities can also get beneath your gums. This infection can lead to swelling and irritation, which may cause bleeding. According to WebMD, “bleeding gums are a sign of gingivitis…a common and mild form of gum disease” that can progress to more severe periodontitis if not properly treated.
2. Poor oral hygiene.
The way you maintain your teeth and gums can lead to bleeding. Of course, failing to properly brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss at least daily can lead to periodontal infection. However, in contrast, brushing or flossing too hard or with improper technique can also agitate your gums and cause them to bleed. Dr. Flanagan and our team can demonstrate proper oral hygiene techniques for you at your next preventive care appointment.
3. Orthodontic issues.
As per Prevention, misaligned teeth can put undue pressure on your “gum tissue and bone…[causing] the gum to recede and the bone to begin deteriorating, adding up to a prime spot for gum disease to come on in.” Furthermore, the metal and brackets in traditional braces can irritate your gum tissue and lead to bleeding. This is one of many reasons Dr. Flanagan and our Houston dental team offer Invisalign. This series of clear, plastic aligners offers an alternative to the downsides of conventional braces.
Yes, that’s right: pregnancy! This may seem odd, but the hormonal fluctuations that occur when you’re expecting can increase your risk for gum disease. As Prevention points out, this isn’t at all uncommon: “about half of all pregnant women will have pregnancy gingivitis by their second trimester.”
Your emotional state can also have an effect on your gums, as well. According to Dentistry IQ, “when the body is under stress, it produces more of the hormone cortisol, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. When cortisol is produced peripherally in the gums, it stimulates mast cells to produce more proteins, simultaneously increasing inflammation and the progression of periodontal disease.” If you suffer from anxiety, tension, or stress, you should pay special attention to your periodontal health.
Are Your Gums Bleeding?
Whatever the reason for this symptom, Dr. Flanagan and our team can assist you. From professional cleanings to periodontal therapy, we offer a wide variety of treatments to help you prevent and remedy bleeding gums. To learn more and schedule an appointment, contact our Houston dental practice today!