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Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

Why Are My Gums Bleeding?
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A lot of patients come into the dentist with this concern, “Why are my gums bleeding”. They didn’t just have a tooth extraction or surgery, so there is no wound to be the definite source of the bleed, so they are wondering where all the blood is coming from. When asked further, they will reveal that sometimes the bleeding is spontaneous; but always it is an automatic feature when they brush their teeth. They spit and their saliva is bloody—concerning them, for sure.

Blood easily concerns patients especially if they do not know where it is coming from. When a patient comes in with this concern, an immediate investigation is carried out to find out the cause, but almost always this is related to gum disease

Gums and Bleeding

The periodontium is the collective term for the oral structures concerned with gum health. This includes the cementum layer of the teeth (the outer layer of the roots), the alveolar bone (jaw), the gingiva (gums) and the periodontal ligaments (fibers). They all assume a perfect role that corresponds to optimal oral health, but basically what you have to understand is that the teeth’s roots are fitted into the sockets within the jaw bone and they are kept in place by the fibers that are attached from the bone to the cementum. This is the arrangement that you do not see underneath the gingiva, which is the pink, soft tissue structure that we all fondly call the gums.

At health, the periodontium will sufficiently hold the teeth in place and it is quite a strong hold. When the mouth is dirty and ridden with plaque, it will accumulate on the teeth and can pack into he sulcus, between the teeth and gums. The accumulation of plaque compromise the health of the periodontium. The initial reversible signs of gum disease include swelling, redness, tenderness, pus formation and bleeding. The gums bleed due to suffocation from the plaque build-up. To get rid of these reversible signs and symptoms, a patient needs to get an oral prophylaxis, so that the teeth may be scaled and planed to remove adherent plaque.

If done well, the periodontium will revert to its healthy status and the attachments will be re-established. However, if this problem is allowed to progress, a patient will have to deal with more than just blood in their mouth.

The Irreversible Problem

When the infection is allowed to set in, the bacteria eats the bone away and so the teeth lose solid support. When this happens, there is irreversible loss of jaw bone and the more that plaque is allowed to accumulate, the more mobile the teeth become within their sockets. In other words, bleeding gums is not a simple thing. If you are not careful and you take this for granted, your teeth could just fall off from your mouth—and that is a truly scary thought, right?

Anyway, the next time you get troubled by bleeding gums, make sure to see your dentist right away.