Why do my gums bleed?

I often hear this question, and patients often think that if their gums are bleeding when they brush them, then it must mean that they are brushing too hard.

Actually the opposite is true; if your gums bleed when you brush, it generally means that you need to brush them more effectively (although not necessarily “harder”). Think of bleeding gums as a cry for help.

So just scrub a bit harder then?

Unfortunately it’s not that simple, you can brush too hard as well as not hard enough. This is one of the reasons that dentists and hygienists often recommend electric toothbrushes – they have just the right amount of “scrub” to remove all the plaque, whilst at the same time not damaging the gums. For more specific brushing advice – see our

What’s the big deal – they might bleed, but they don’t hurt?!

Bleeding gums are the first sign of gum disease, which is often entirely painless. This can cause otherwise healthy teeth to lose support and eventually fall out. So, whether or not you feel pain gives you no indication of the health of your teeth and gums. The good news is that gum disease, in its very early stages (gingivitis), is completely reversible. So when you see the warning signs, it typically means that you need a professional hygienist clean to remove all the plaque and tartar below the gum.

As dental professionals, our role is to treat dental disease; but really the true measure of success for us should be promotion our patients’ good oral heath. I believe that as dentistry continues to progress, in the 21st century we will be spending more time preventing dental disease, and (I hope) less time treating it.

If you have any questions about this or any other dental issues, please call or email us your questions for free, no obligation advice. Alternatively, you can arrange a consultation with one of our dentists for a more personalised consultation.

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