When You Should Be Concerned About Gum Bleeding, According To A Periodontist

If you've ever brushed or flossed your teeth only to notice some light bleeding around the gumline afterward, there could be many contributing factors. "Bleeding gums are a common health concern and can have a variety of different possible causes," Scott H. Froum, DDS, practicing periodontist in New York City, told Health Digest in an exclusive interview.

"The most common cause of gum bleeding is gingivitis, which is an early form of gum disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include red or swollen gums that easily bleed during brushing or flossing," Dr. Froum explains. "Poor oral hygiene is a leading factor in gingivitis, as it allows bacteria to build up and attack the gums," he says. However, our oral healthcare routine may not be the sole cause of the condition. "Genetics can play a role in people who develop gingivitis, with some thoughts that around 50% of individuals that have bleeding gums can have a hereditary component," Dr. Froum notes. "Additionally, hormonal changes often occur throughout pregnancy or during particular stages of aging and can also contribute to gingivitis and result in bleeding gums."

Dr. Froum emphasizes that it's crucial to seek treatment early on to prevent further problems down the line. "It is important to see a dentist if you experience continued bleeding of your gums, as this can be an indication of a gum infection or gum recession," he says. "If left unchecked, gum recession and infection can lead to bone loss around the teeth, known as periodontal disease."

Foods to eat and foods to avoid

Our diet can be an important tool for supporting our oral health. "When suffering from bleeding gums, it is important to alleviate the symptoms by eating alkaline diets and avoiding highly processed sugars and acids," Dr. Froum tells us exclusively. "Eating alkalizing foods like green vegetables can help balance the acidity in the mouth as well as soothe and heal any inflamed areas," he states. 

However, our diet can also hinder our oral health if we're consuming foods that may damage teeth and gums. "Avoiding high-sugar foods is also essential; sugary snacks like candy or fructose can actually weaken your gums over time, leading to further discomfort and dental problems," Dr. Froum goes on to add. "Furthermore, processed foods are generally unhealthy for several reasons; they often contain trans-fats which may cause inflammation, they tend to be high in sodium which encourages water retention, and they often lack necessary vitamins and minerals needed for proper gum health," he states.

Treatment and prevention against gum bleeding

But foods aren't the only items we should be mindful about ingesting. Rather, Dr. Froum notes that we shouldn't neglect hydration either. "It is also important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and rinse away bacteria that can cause additional gum irritation and swelling," he says. "Therefore, opting for nutritious alkaline foods with plenty of fluids is a great step towards improving bleeding gums."

In closing, Dr. Froum states, "Seeing a periodontist for any continued bleeding from the gums is essential to protect your oral health and prevent future discomfort." Whether through the use of antibiotics, a deep cleaning, or surgical means, treatment options are available for patients to address gum bleeding. "To prevent or reduce bleeding gums, it is important to maintain consistent brushing and flossing habits and schedule regular cleanings with your periodontist," says Dr. Froum.

To learn more about gum recession and Dr. Froum's services, visit Dr.ScottFroum.com