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Bleeding Gums

Having problems with bleeding gums? It could be a sign of gum disease, or even a symptom of pregnancy.

Bleeding gums are often painless. Typically gums will show other signs along with the bleeding, such as being swollen, irritated and red.

They can usually be treated. When bleeding gums are diagnosed early it can help prevent more serious problems from developing. As with most oral health concerns, when you experience bleeding gums, it’s best to book in to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Symptoms of bleeding gums

People who experience bleeding gums often don’t have any pain with the bleeding. However, it’s not unusual to experience some tenderness or soreness when your gums are bleeding.

The most common cause of bleeding gums is gum disease. Bleeding gums can also indicate other, more serious issues. That’s why taking care of your oral health, having regular dental check-ups and practicing good daily oral health habits are so important. Some of the symptoms you may experience if you have bleeding gums include:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth
  • Loose teeth or developing a separation between your teeth
  • Experiencing continuous bad breath
  • Gums that pull away from your teeth
  • Changes in how your teeth fit when you bite together
  • Sore and painful gums
  • Losing a tooth

Causes of bleeding gums

Bleeding gums can occur for a number of reasons. They can be due to gum disease, a side effect of pregnancy, or occasionally be linked to an even more serious issue, such as leukaemia.

Some of the causes of bleeding gums include:

  • Gingivitis, a type of gum disease
  • Brushing your teeth too hard, or using a toothbrush with hard bristles
  • Changing your dental flossing routine
  • Taking new medication, such blood thinners
  • Inflammation in the gums during pregnancy
  • Dentures that don’t fit well, or new ones that haven’t yet adjusted properly to your mouth
  • Vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamin C and vitamin K
  • Diabetes, a medical condition where the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired
  • Thrombocytopenia, a medical condition where the body doesn’t have enough platelets to form a blood clot
  • Haemophilia, a medical condition where blood doesn’t clot properly
  • Leukaemia, a cancer that originates in developing blood cells and develops in the bone marrow

Gum disease

Gum disease deserves its own mention as one of the most common diseases causing bleeding gums. There are two main types of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis. Of the two, gingivitis is more common and affects up to 70% of New Zealanders. Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums, or gingiva. It typically appears because of a film of plaque and bacteria building up on the teeth. If it’s left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis affects around 30% of Kiwis. Periodontitis damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that support your teeth. It’s far more serious than gingivitis and can eventually lead to losing your teeth.

Learn more about gum disease
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Have questions?

The price of treating bleeding gums will differ depending on the cause. If the cause is more severe you will need more appointments to treat it and the cost will be higher. It’s important to visit the dentist if you are experiencing bleeding gums. They will be able to recommend the appropriate treatment and give you an idea of the cost. In more serious cases you may be referred to a GP.

There are many different causes of bleeding gums. Some issues are more serious than others. Some of the symptoms you might experience are red, swollen or tender gums, bleeding when you floss or brush, or having loose teeth. If you are experiencing bleeding or swollen gums, you should book in to see a dentist as soon as possible.

Bleeding gums usually can’t be treated at home, unless the cause is related to your brushing or flossing routine. Proper care when brushing and flossing is important. If you’re unsure of the best oral health care routine at home, ask your dentist for advice. In most situations, when you notice your gums are bleeding, you need to visit your dentist as soon as possible.

Yes. You can greatly reduce your chances of developing bleeding gums by taking good care of your oral health. That means a combination of at-home dental care and building a great relationship with your dentist.

We recommend daily healthy habits and regular visits to the dentist. For optimum oral health:

  • Practice good oral hygiene habits at home including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day
  • Book hygiene visits with an oral hygienist or oral health therapist twice each year
  • Book routine exam and x-rays visits with your dentist once each year

The Lumino Dental Plan is a cost-effective way to ensure your oral health is given the priority it deserves. It’s an affordable ongoing subscription plan that keeps you on top of your oral health. We know that when you look after your oral health properly with regular preventative care, you’ll be less likely to need to see a dentist in an emergency. You’re also likely to spend less money at the dentist over time.

We get it. We’re New Zealand’s largest group of dentists so we’ve seen more scared patients than any other dental practice in the country. For most people who are scared about visiting the dentist it’s because they’ve had a bad experience in the past. Relax. Our gentle and compassionate dentists understand how you feel. Whether you’re anxious or worried about experiencing more pain or the potential cost of the treatment, the best thing to do is to let us know how you feel. Making sure you feel comfortable is part of our job.

What next

Learn more about what's next by viewing some possible treatments. We recommend you book an appointment with a dentist for specific advice about your symptoms. You can search for your nearest practice and book online today.