Minor bleeding from your gums when you brush your teeth is not uncommon and is often related to improper oral hygiene care. While bleeding gums can simply mean that you need to step up your brushing and flossing regimen, they may also indicate a dental or medical condition. Here are some diagnostic interventions your dentist may perform to determine the source of your bleeding gums so that an effective treatment plan can be implemented.
Oral Cavity Visual Inspection
During your bleeding gums workup, your dentist will carefully inspect your oral cavity. They will look for signs of gingival inflammation, redness, drainage, and lesions inside your oral cavity. The dentist will also assess the color of your gum tissue, tongue, insides of your cheeks, and the floor of your mouth. If these surfaces appear very pale or jaundiced (yellowish) they may refer you back to your primary care doctor for further testing.
Paleness or yellowing of the oral surfaces can indicate anemia, blood platelet disorders, and even liver disease. These conditions can also cause your gums to bleed, however, once the underlying condition has been treated, the bleeding may stop. Gums that are swollen and red may also mean that you have gingivitis and a yellow or greenish discharge seeping out of your gum tissue may indicate the presence of a bacterial gum infection. Once gingivitis and gum infections are resolved, your gums may also stop bleeding.
Probing Dental Examination
Another procedure you can expect from your dentist when presenting with bleeding gums is a probing dental examination. During this procedure, your dentist will gently probe your gum tissue and the spaces between your teeth to see if they bleed.
The dentist will evaluate the amount of bleeding and assess how long it takes for the bleeding to stop. If the gums bleed only a small amount or if the bleeding stops quickly, then you may likely have mild gingivitis. If, however, the bleeding is profuse and fails to stop after pressure has been placed over the affected areas, then your dentist may suspect an unlying condition.
It is important to note, that while certain underlying conditions such as anemia, blood disorders, and liver disease can cause bleeding gums, normal conditions such as pregnancy and menopause can also cause your gums to bleed as a result of hormonal changes.
If your gums bleed with your brush or floss your teeth, make an appointment with your dentist. After a complete oral examination, your dentist will recommend the best treatment plan for your individual situation.