If your gums bleed just a little every time you brush and floss your teeth, you might not think you need to see a dentist right now. Bleeding gums can be a sign of something serious, even if it's just a small amount of blood you see on your toothbrush and floss. Bleeding may be a sign of gingivitis or an oral infection called gingivostomatitis. Here are the reasons to see a dentist for the small bleeding in your gums today.
Early Gum Disease
Bleeding gums is one of the most common symptoms of gingivitis. Although gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, it can progress into a full-blown gum infection without treatment. Learning more about gingivitis and how it starts can help you decide whether or not you should seek dental care.
Gingivitis occurs when oral plaque builds up around your gums. Plaque is a unique mixture of bacteria, food particles, acids, and other substances. These substances can cause some mild inflammation in your gums. The inflammation can cause bleeding gums in some people.
Over time, plaque hardens and adheres to the surfaces of your teeth. Unlike plaque, which is generally easy to remove with a toothbrush and paste, you can't brush away tartar. If tartar spreads below your gumline, it can cause an infection to occur. The infectious material may give off an odor, or it may cause your gums to loosen up and swell. The loose tissue may expose your teeth roots to bacteria. You want to avoid reaching this step as it can lead to tooth loss in the future.
The most effective way to treat gingivitis and to keep your gums healthy is to obtain a thorough and deep gum cleaning from a dentist. Most providers use a method called scaling to remove tartar buildup. Scaling tools allow a provider to clean the area below your gumline as well as around the gumline itself. If tartar reached the roots of your teeth, a dentist may use a root planer to remove it.
If a dentist doesn't detect gingivitis in your gums, they may look for another possible cause of the bleeding, including gingivostomatitis.
Gingivostomatitis is an infection of the oral cavity. The condition can affect people who don't use proper dental hygiene, or it may develop in individuals exposed to certain types of viruses and bacteria. One of the symptoms produced by gingivostomatitis is bleeding mouth sores. The sores generally form on the smooth surfaces of the inner cheeks and gums.
Along with the symptoms above, gingivostomatitis may also cause problems with the lymph nodes in your neck and throat. Some adults (and children) complain of feeling unwell when they have gingivostomatitis. These individuals may also develop a fever and cough, or they may have problems eating food or drinking fluids. The mouth sores can keep some children and adults from eating altogether.
If a dentist detects gingivostomatitis in your mouth, they'll choose a treatment that works best for you. A provider may have you visit a primary care physician for additional treatment, especially if you developed a cough or fever. A regular doctor may be able to help a dentist determine the cause of your gingivostomatitis.
If you don't have a fever or cough, a dentist may clean your mouth with antibiotics and other treatments. You may also need to take certain medications to help get rid of the sores in your mouth. If your condition is ongoing, you may need to see a dental provider regularly for care.
If you don't know why your gums bleed, contact a dentist in your area for a checkup and treatment today.