I don’t brush my teeth because my gums bleed when I do. How can brushing them help the bleeding stop?

All too often, patients come into the dentist with a complaint that their gums bleed when they brush their teeth. They presume brushing is the cause of their bleeding gums, and so they never brush their teeth.

The truth is, not brushing your teeth, if you have bleeding gums, can actually make the bleeding worse. Very rarely is the cause that you are brushing too hard. If you suspect you are brushing too hard, purchase a brand new soft-bristle toothbrush and make sure you brush gently up against the gums at a 45 degree angle in a circular motion.

Certain groups of people are more at risk of experiencing bleeding gums. Pregnant women, those taking blood-thinner medications, diabetics, those suffering from severe malnourishment, those immunocompromised, smokers, or those with other blood-related diseases and disorders may all be individuals at risk of having bleeding gums.

However, many individuals who experience bleeding in their gums do so as a result of poor oral hygiene. Not keeping your teeth clean can lead to gingivitis, which, if left uncared for, can lead to infected gum disease (periodontitis or periodontal disease). Gingivitis is swelling and inflammation of the gums. The way to help your gums get back to health is to brush and floss 2-3 times daily, and visit the dentist for regular cleanings.

For more information, you can visit the American Dental Association’s website: Mouthhealthy.org

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