Bleeding Gums: What Causes Them?

Do you suffer from bleeding gums? If so, there may be a bigger problem at hand. Periodontal disease is often associated with bleeding gums. However, there are a handful of things that can cause your gums to bleed.

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A great way to avoid these problems is to learn and take action. With some education about the facts, you can have the power to improve your health! And while some don’t know it, your oral health goes hand-in-hand with your overall health. This means that treating your teeth well helps your body treat you well! If your gums are bleeding, it’s crucial for you to figure out the cause.

As you search for the answer, keep in mind that you’ll still want to see a professional. In most cases, seeing the dentist is always one of the better options. Other medical professionals may also help you along the way. In any case, be careful not to take bleeding gums lightly. They can be a serious issue if not dealt with, often leading to other, bigger issues.

The good news is that bleeding gums don’t have to last forever. Luckily, you may be able to solve the problem. We would be happy to help you at our Lincoln office. Here we’ll talk about the cause of bleeding gums and how to prevent developing periodontal disease. 

Dr.Kathryn Alderman will talk about the cause of bleeding gums and how to prevent developing periodontal disease or putting this disease in remission.

10 Common Reasons for Bleeding Gums

Many things can cause bleeding gums. Gum disease is the main one Dr.Kathryn Alderman will talk about in this article. Still, the others can be equally important if they’re causing your gums to bleed. If bleeding gums do imply a bigger problem, you’ll want to be aware of that.

1. Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common cause of bleeding gums. While this can happen at early stages of gum disease, it’s still a symptom and should be treated as such. More information on gum disease and bleeding gums can be found below this list.

2. Flossing/Brushing Routine Changes

If you aren’t flossing or brushing enough, your dentist will likely urge you to do so more often. At first, this change may cause bleeding gums. In time, however, it will prevent bleeding for the future.

3. Brushing Too Hard

Sometimes patients brush their teeth with too much force. In general, many people think this helps clean their teeth more effectively. In reality, it often causes receding and bleeding gums. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush more softly to help solve this.

4. Smoking

Smoking may cause your gums to bleed. Moreover, it can have several lasting impacts on your health. For one, it makes it harder for your body to heal itself. This response also includes your gums. For smokers, the gums will have a much tougher time healing.

5. Pregnancy

Generally speaking, swelling is a common effect of pregnancy. Pregnant women often swell throughout their bodies, as well as in their gums. This swelling allows the gums to bleed more easily.

6. Bleeding Disorders

In addition, those with hemophilia or other blood diseases are more likely to have bleeding gums. This is because their blood doesn’t clot like it’s supposed to. If your bleeding gums won’t go away, you may have a blood-clotting problem. Additionally, leukemia can cause your blood not to clot properly.

7. Stress

Stress can have a very real impact on a person’s physical health. It leads to inflammation, and similarly, gum disease. It also causes many people to eat unhealthy foods, which can also cause inflammation, ultimately leading to bleeding gums.

8. Diabetes

Similarly, diabetes makes it tough for a person’s body to defend against bacteria. For that reason, those with diabetes may have trouble fighting off the bacteria in a person’s mouth.

9. Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is when your liver becomes scarred. When this happens, your liver struggles to remove toxins from your body. Unfortunately, this problem leads to bleeding in general, which is why bleeding gums are common for those with cirrhosis.

10. Ill-Fitting Dentures

You may also experience bleeding gums if you wear dentures that don’t fit correctly. This common issue causes dentures to move around in a person’s mouth. This results in sores and swelling, which predispose you to bleeding gums.

reasons for bleeding gums

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“10 Common Reasons for Bleeding Gums”

Why do my gums bleed? 10 common reasons

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What You Can Do About Bleeding Gums

If you do have bleeding gums, you should be aware of the dangers of gum disease. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a harmful condition. However, you can help revive your gums and teeth by brushing twice a day, flossing every day, and seeing your dentist twice a year, or as needed.

Dr. Kathryn Alderman: Frequently Asked Questions about Periodontal Disease and Bleeding Gums

While we do see bleeding gums from time to time, many patients don’t know what periodontal disease is. For that reason, we decided to have Dr. Kathryn Alderman answer some of our most frequently asked questions. You’ll find the questions and answers below. 

Dr. Kathryn Alderman: After years of working as a dentist, I feel grateful to you, the patient. My goal is always to help you have a healthy and happy life. However, I’ll never make you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your teeth. In fact, your dentist should make you feel comfortable. Similarly, they should help you feel empowered to benefit your health. With some gentle education and comfortable dental visits, we believe we can make this a reality. It may take some trust, but I can help anyone with their oral and overall health. With that being said, read on to learn more about gum disease.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What are common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?

Dr. Kathryn Alderman: In the first place, periodontal is a silent disease. If you have it, it may not show symptoms unless it’s at a very advanced stage. However, it is possible to experience some signs and symptoms before it becomes advanced. For example, gums can be tender or bleed while brushing and flossing. They can also appear swollen or red, give you bad breath, or cause receding gums. If this sounds like you, be sure to reach out to your dentist today! You can also schedule with me by calling our office at 402-413-7000 or using the form at the bottom.

bright smile with absents of bleeding gums

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What is the difference between plaque and calculus?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Plaque is the colorless film that’s always forming on your teeth. When you brush and floss your teeth, you’re removing plaque. This is why it’s so important to brush and floss regularly. If plaque remains on the teeth over time, it calcifies and hardens into calculus, more commonly known as tartar. Unlike plaque, you can’t remove calculus at home. It must be removed by a dental professional during a cleaning.  To keep plaque from hardening into calculus, practice good home care. You can do so by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing with mouthwash.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Are children at risk of developing periodontal disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: While periodontal disease in children isn’t very common, it is common in adolescents. In either case, it’s still important for children to learn to care for their teeth and gums. Ultimately, this will help them prevent periodontal disease in the future. By learning to brush twice daily and floss properly, children will make be more likely to maintain these habits for a lifetime. Parents should be aware of the warning signs of periodontal disease. Red, swollen, or bleeding gums and persistent bad breath are a few signs to look for. 

If your child develops any of these symptoms, be sure to tell your dentist. It’s especially important to share your family’s medical and dental history with them. Since genetics can play an important role in the early development of periodontal disease, this is pertinent information for the dentist.

Read more on this topic from my partner, Dr. Jodi Day at Coddington Dental.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Do I have to see a periodontist for periodontal treatment?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: In most cases, you can see a regular dentist for periodontal disease. Deep cleanings and the placement of antimicrobials are usually very successful. In some cases, further treatment beyond maintenance cleanings is not required to maintain bone levels. On the other hand, periodontists are gum and bone specialists who can offer surgical intervention, if necessary. For some patients, I’ll even work together with the periodontist to manage the condition.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: I was recently diagnosed with periodontal disease. How often should I see my dentists or hygienists for an examination?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: It’s important to see your dentist regularly to monitor your condition. This will help you avoid further progression of the disease. Most patients need to be seen two to three times every year. Still, others may need to be seen four times a year. After your diagnosis, the dentist will decide how often you should come in. Your visits will seek to maintain the bone levels and control inflammation in the gums. Again, their suggestion will depend on how advanced your case is. Many factors can influence how often you should be seen. These include smoking, genetics, and the presence of other inflammatory medical conditions.

bleeding gums remedy: mouthwash

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What can I do at home to prevent periodontal disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Practice good oral hygiene at home! This is an excellent way to prevent gum disease. Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and use a fluoride mouth rinse. These will all help keep your gums and teeth healthy. Also, see your dental provider at least twice a year for a professional cleaning and exam.

Taking Probiotics and Vitamin D can help to prevent problems with gums. Read about Probiotics and its role in gum health here.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Both of my parents have periodontal disease, and I’m worried that it may be genetic. Is there a way to determine my risk of developing gum disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Genetics may determine a person’s risk for gum disease, according to recent research. However, there are a variety of other factors that also play a role. The presence of other inflammatory conditions, diet, and lifestyle can all influence how the immune system responds to the bacteria associated with periodontal disease. Read about easy tips on living anti-inflammatory lifestyle here. 

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Is periodontal disease contagious?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Periodontal disease is caused by the body’s response to specific strains of bacteria found in the mouth. Technically, it is not a communicable disease because the presence of periodontal disease depends on how an individual’s body responds to the bacteria. However, these bacteria are transmissible through saliva. It is a good idea to avoid sharing eating utensils or oral hygiene items with people who have this condition to avoid introducing these specific bacteria into your body.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Is there a link between periodontal disease and diabetes?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Research suggests that there is a link between diabetes and periodontal disease. The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease is correlative. This is likely since they are more susceptible to infection. In fact, professionals often list periodontal as one of the top complications of diabetes. In the same way that diabetes can increase a person’s risk of developing periodontal disease, research shows that well-managed cases of periodontal disease have a positive impact on blood sugar levels among patients with type II diabetes.

Male Diabetic Checking Blood Sugar Levels

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Does periodontal disease have anything to do with my diabetes being unstable?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: There is a strong link between diabetes, heart disease, and many other inflammatory conditions. This is because the burden of a chronic inflammatory condition like periodontal disease weakens our immune system’s ability to fight off other infections or malfunctions within our organ systems.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: How is gum disease linked to cardiovascular disease, or heart disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: First, research has shown that periodontal disease may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Both periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are chronic inflammatory diseases, so researchers believe that inflammation may account for the association between the two. Second, untreated periodontal disease can increase inflammation in the body, which may increase the risk for development of more severe health complications, including cardiovascular disease.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: I have big gums and short teeth, so when I smile, you can almost only see my gums. I don’t smile very often anymore because I am so self-conscious of my gums. Is there a way to improve my smile?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: There are some different options to address this concern. One procedure is called crown lengthening. Your dentist can remove excess gum tissue and reshape the contour of the gums while exposing more tooth structure. Veneers or crowns can also create more symmetry and length to the teeth.

Read more about this procedure from Dr. Sydney Joyce.

Lincoln Dentist explaining causes of bleeding gums

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What is a periodontal maintenance cleaning?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Maintenance cleanings are usually performed every 3-4 months. The purpose of these deep cleanings is to help control the bacteria that are responsible for creating inflammation in the gum tissue. By disrupting bacteria at regular intervals, we can reduce the body’s need to create inflammation. Your hygienist can access the spaces between the tooth and gum where the bacteria are more concentrated and destructive. They can also thoroughly debride these areas, which will keep your disease state inactive. Since insurance usually covers periodontal treatments differently than normal cleanings, patients often have a small co-pay for this procedure. Our goal is to keep the disease inactive. You, the patient, play a key role in this.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: How do I treat my periodontal disease?

Your Lincoln dentist answers: The initial phase of treatment involves a non-surgical method called scaling and root planing. This is essentially a deep cleaning in which the hygienist thoroughly removes bacteria and tartar that has formed beneath the gum line. After this first phase of treatment, the patient may be advised to return every 3-4 months for maintenance cleanings to keep the bacteria under control. Depending on the severity of bone loss, further treatments may be prescribed.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: After I have completed my deep cleaning am I free of periodontal disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, this diagnosis stays with you for the lifetime of your dentition. By managing the condition with regular maintenance cleanings, good home care habits, and lifestyle changes, it’s possible to keep the disease state inactive.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What other lifestyle changes can I make to improve my oral health and keep periodontal disease in remission?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: The inflammation caused by periodontal disease can affect our overall health. Making some changes to your lifestyle will improve the health of our gums and the rest of our body. Here are some tips to help reduce inflammation in the body and the gums:

sugar: bleeding gums causer

  • Avoid eating processed foods, foods with added sugars, pop or energy drinks.
  • Avoid smoking, vaping or chewing tobacco.
  • Eat a diet rich in Omega 3’s, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and take probiotics and multivitamin.
  • Exercise regularly and practice deep relaxation techniques like Yoga or meditation.
  • Sleep at least 7-8 hours each night.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: My dentist and hygienist told me I couldn’t have a regular cleaning and I must have a deep cleaning. Why?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: It is likely because your dental providers have found signs of active inflammation in the gum tissue and bone changes on your x-rays indicating a chronic inflammatory condition called periodontitis. If this condition goes untreated, patients can lose a significant amount of bone around the teeth, and this can ultimately lead to tooth loss. It is important to treat this condition before patients lose too much bone. Treating the gum disease will also help improve your overall health and well-being because this condition is linked to numerous systemic conditions.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Can I reverse gum disease? Can you cure periodontal disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Gingivitis is a condition in which gums are swollen, red and inflamed due to an accumulation of plaque near the gum line or from hormones or medications. Typically gingivitis is not associated with bone loss around the teeth. If the plaque is removed, hormones are balanced, and medications are ceased, this condition is completely reversible. However, periodontitis is a condition resulting from the body’s response to specific bacteria causing chronic inflammation and bone loss around the teeth. Once patients have lost bone around the teeth, there is no way to grow it back. Treating periodontitis includes a deep cleaning and regular continuing care visits to control the bacteria and avoid further bone loss. Periodontitis is not reversible but is manageable if treated appropriately.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: How do I get rid of gum disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: It is important to have a thorough exam of your gums and teeth by your dental provider to determine which treatments would be appropriate in your case. Your dental provider can advise you on the most effective way to treat your condition and help you assess your lifestyle and genetic risk factors that can influence the outcome of treatment.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What’s a “pocket” in your gums from periodontal (gum) disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Periodontal pockets are the widening of space between the tooth and gums. This happens as a result of a chronic inflammatory condition called periodontitis. It’s caused by the overgrowth of specific bacteria that lead to bone loss around the teeth.

fish oil: a bleeding gums remedy

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: How can I get rid of pockets in my gums naturally?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to get rid of periodontal pockets. You can’t simply apply a topical treatment or take vitamins. However, adopting certain lifestyle changes in conjunction with periodontal treatment can help positively influence the outcome of treatment. Taking omega 3, vitamin D, vitamin C, and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can boost the immune system.


CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Does coconut oil work for gum disease treatment? 

Our Lincoln dentist answers: There is some research that supports the notion that coconut oil may have antifungal or antibacterial properties, so using this product may have positive effects in conjunction with traditional periodontal therapy and adopting other good habits that support the immune system.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Can you have periodontal disease without symptoms?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Many cases of early periodontal disease don’t show symptoms. Patients typically don’t notice any symptoms. The main exceptions are bleeding gums or bad breath. Unfortunately, it is a silent disease that can progress without our knowledge. Many patients in advanced stages only notice slight aching or tooth mobility. At the point of tooth mobility, periodontal treatments may not be adequate to save teeth. It is very important to see your dentist regularly to receive screenings for this condition.

patient interested about bleeding gums treatment process

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: Is there pain with periodontal disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Usually, mild to moderate cases of gum disease won’t exhibit symptoms. Slight bleeding when brushing and bad breath are a few exceptions. However, more advanced cases can cause aching, cold sensitivity or tooth mobility. This condition can go unnoticed for many years. As a result, patients often develop advanced bone loss. Unfortunately, bone loss often leads to a poor prognosis by the time they do seek treatment. If you’re concerned about gum disease, come see us! It’s better to be safe than sorry. When it comes to gum disease, sooner is better.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What causes bone loss around teeth?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Bone loss usually occurs around teeth due to periodontal disease. The condition is a result of the overgrowth of bacteria that creates an inflammatory response in the gums. Over time, this low-grade chronic infection produces inflammatory chemicals that lead to bone destruction. Other reasons for bone loss around teeth can be the relationship of the upper and lower jaw that can cause trauma to a tooth over time or infections from abscessed teeth.

person coving mouth because of bleeding gums

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What does gum disease lead to?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory condition. It’s the result of the body’s attempt to fight bacterial overgrowth. When there is a chronic inflammatory condition in the body, it can lead to many medical problems. It can contribute to the progression and development of diabetes, heart disease, respiratory conditions and many autoimmune conditions.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: How do you get periodontal disease?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: You can get periodontal disease from an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria within your mouth. When bad bacteria multiply in the mouth, the immune system creates an inflammatory response. This is a natural response from the body. However, if this response becomes chronic or ongoing, it results in bone loss around the teeth. These bacteria can be mutations of naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth. They can also be transmitted from one person to another via saliva. Patients who suffer from other inflammatory conditions are at higher risk of developing periodontal disease due to the exaggerated response of their immune system to bacteria or viruses.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What’s the cost of periodontal disease treatment cost without insurance?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: Periodontal treatments vary in cost depending on the severity of the case and what additional treatments could be prescribed. The deep cleaning costs without dental insurance in Lincoln, NE is between $600- $1000.

CAQ to Lincoln, NE dentist: What’s the cost of periodontal scaling and root planning, deep cleaning cost with insurance?

Our Lincoln dentist answers: The cost of scaling and root planning, or deep cleaning, varies. It depends on an the patient’s insurance plan. It also depends on the severity and extent of areas involved in the patient’s case. Thankfully, we do accept most insurance plans. However, each of them offers different percentages of coverage for periodontal therapy. Most dental insurances cover about 80% of the cost of periodontal cleaning, leaving about $150-$300 copays.

Tips on How to Treat Bleeding Gums

Like with many symptoms, it isn’t always simple to know the cause of bleeding gums. But there are a few things that are universal in good oral health.

  1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  2. Floss at least once a day.
  3. See your dentist for teeth cleanings at least twice a year.

If you aren’t sure what to do, these three tips are a great place to start. Your oral and overall health both need your help! But don’t worry; we believe in you. With a little practice, anyone can develop good oral health habits. And if you aren’t sure about something, don’t be a stranger! We’re here to help in any way we can. Seeing your dentist often will help prevent big problems in the future. Regular cleanings allow us to see that your teeth are looking how they’re supposed to. They save you time and money since they let you avoid more extensive treatment.

If you have questions, you can call us at 402-413-7000. You can also use the contact form at the bottom of the page. We’re excited to help you discover the path to better health!

Wishing you health and happiness,
Your Lincoln Dentist Dr. Kathryn Alderman

Check out the “Why do my gums bleed” video

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Nebraska Family Dentistry

Our location is a proud member of Nebraska Family Dentistry. We’re one of multiple NFD locations, some of which are even open on weeknights and weekends for your convenience.

At any of NFD locations, you can find compassionate care from professionals that strive to provide excellent dental treatment to every patient. In everything we do, comfort, satisfaction, and quality dental work are our standards.

If you’re worried about periodontal disease, contact us today.
You can also call us at 402-413-7141 or schedule an appointment below.

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