Our oral hygiene experts have put together all the info you need to maintain a healthy mouth, prevent gum disease and stop bleeding gums in their tracks. Read on!

Bleeding gums are quite common, but they are not ‘normal’ – healthy gums won’t usually bleed unless there is trauma. Most often, bleeding gums are caused by build-up of plaque or tartar (hardened plaque). This irritates the gums and cause gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. Here’s how you can prevent and treat bleeding gums.

ARE BLEEDING GUMS NORMAL?

Looking after your mouth health is an important part of looking after your overall body health. Just because bleeding gums are common, it doesn’t mean they’re ok. There are no circumstances when bleeding gums are ‘normal’. They are usually a sign that something is wrong and it’s time to take action to fix it.

Many people experience gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease, at some point. The UK National Health Service estimates up to 90% of adults have it. If you have gingivitis, your gums may be red, swollen and bleed more easily. Gingivitis can be treated and is reversible.

If untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease, which can lead to bone and tooth loss. Periodontitis can be managed, but not cured. It is best prevented.

There’s a well-established link between gum diseases and a whole list of systemic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes and even low birthweight babies. Infection in the gums can easily spread to other parts of the body. This is why doctors advise patients to treat gum disease before surgery – to lower any risks.

WHY GUMS BLEED

The most common cause of bleeding gums is plaque and tartar. If not removed, plaque, a bacteria in the mouth, builds up on the teeth. It eventually forms tartar. Tartar is a hard, yellowish substance that can only safely be removed by a dental professional, not with usual brushing and flossing.

Plaque and tartar on the teeth can irritate gum tissue. This causes inflammation and eventually gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Brushing and cleaning between the teeth correctly are the best forms of plaque control. By manually disrupting the plaque you prevent plaque and tartar build-up.

Some people think their gums bleed because they are brushing or flossing too hard. It’s more likely to be gum disease caused by not brushing or flossing correctly. If you have gum disease, good oral care is more important than ever!

CAUSES OF BLEEDING GUMS

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Plaque and tartar build-up
  • Gum disease
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Brushing too hard or using a very hard worn out brush
  • Incorrect flossing
  • Trauma to the gums (e.g. poorly-fitting dentures, orthodontics, oral surgery, tooth extractions)
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Smoking – smokers are 2 x more likely to get gum disease

DOES FLOSSING MAKE YOUR GUMS BLEED?

If you’re new to flossing, or if you only clean between the teeth occasionally, your gums may bleed a little at first. Plaque may have built up between the teeth, irritating the gums and potentially causing infection. The body’s response will be to send more blood to the infected area. This is why the gums may appear red, swollen or bleed.

If your gums bleed when you start to floss or clean between the teeth with an interdental brush or pick, carry on for a few days. Removing the plaque may be enough to clear up the infection and end the bleeding. If your gums continue to bleed after 2 to 3 days we recommend you see a dental professional for a professional clean which will remove plaque AND tartar.

If you floss too hard or use the wrong tool, you could damage the gum and cause bleeding.

Find out how to clean between the teeth effectively here or watch this video on how to ‘floss like a boss‘.

You may find using interdental brushes or other tools, like GUM Soft-Picks easier to use than floss.

HEALTH CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH BLEEDING GUMS

Bleeding gums are most commonly caused by inadequate oral care and gum diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis. In rarer cases, bleeding gums may be associated with the following health conditions:

  • Pregnancy – hormonal changes during pregnancy can make the gums more sensitive
  • Cancer treatment – some people experience bleeding gums during cancer treatment
  • Diabetes – people with diabetes are at higher risk of gum disease and bleeding gums
  • Blood thinning medication like aspirin or warfarin or blood disorders including leukaemia and haemophilia
  • Immune issues – dental problems, including bleeding gums, are more common in people with compromised immune systems or HIV

HOW TO PREVENT BLEEDING GUMS

  • Gum disease is the most common cause of bleeding gums
  • Effective plaque control will help prevent gum disease
  • Brushing is the most effective method to remove plaque from the teeth
  • Floss and interdental brushes remove plaque between the teeth and below the gum line
  • Brushing for 2 minutes will remove more plaque than brushing for 45 seconds

An effective daily oral care routine and having a professional clean, at least twice a year, is the best way to prevent bleeding gums.

Ask your dental professional to advise you on the best home oral care routine and tools if you’re not sure.

A healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep, exercise and nutrition will help maintain a healthy immune system and reduce the risk of diseases like gum disease.

If you are a smoker, give it up to protect your gum health.

3 SIMPLE STEPS TO PREVENT BLEEDING GUMS

1) Have your teeth cleaned professionally by a dentist or oral hygienist, at least twice a year. A dental professional can safely remove tartar (hardened, calcified plaque) which you cannot remove with brushing and flossing at home. They can assess your usual oral care routine and advise you on how to improve it if necessary.

2) Follow an effective oral care routine EVERY DAY

Brush correctly for at least 2 minutes twice a day, using a soft-bristled brush with a small head
Clean in-between the teeth every day with floss, an interdental brush or another interproximal tool
Rinse the mouth with salt-water or an alcohol-free mouthwash after eating

3) Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in vegetables and vitamins and low in sugar and refined carbs.

HOW TO TREAT BLEEDING GUMS

If you have bleeding gums, here are 4 ways to treat them:

  • Apply pressure – just as you would with any other kind of bleeding – you can apply pressure to the gum, pressing on gauze or tissue, to stop bleeding.
  • Rinse the mouth with salt water or an alcohol-free mouth rinse. Look for a rinse with CPC and chlorhexidine, which has well-established antiseptic properties.
  • Keep your teeth and gums clean with an effective oral hygiene routine. You may feel like not brushing or flossing when your gums bleed, but good oral hygiene is more important than ever when you have gum disease.
  • See a dental professional for a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar. Plaque and tartar build-up irritates the gums.

To prevent the plaque and tartar build-up that causes gum disease, it’s recommended to have a scheduled clean with a dental professional at least every 6 months. More regularly if an increased risk of gum problems e.g. people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease.

WHEN TO SEE YOUR DENTAL PROFESSIONAL

  • If your gums bleed for more than 2 to 3 days
  • If you experience gum sensitivity
  • After oral surgery or a tooth extraction if the gum continues to bleed for more than 2 to 3 days
  • Children’s teeth should never bleed unless there’s been some kind of trauma to the gum

To prevent the plaque and tartar build-up that causes gum disease, it’s recommended to have a scheduled clean with a dental professional at least every 6 months. More regularly if an increased risk of gum problems e.g. people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease.

CAN TOOTHPASTE OR MOUTHWASH STOP BLEEDING GUMS?

Yes, when used as part of an effective daily oral hygiene routine, a quality antibacterial toothpaste and mouthrinse like GUM Paroex with CPC and chlorhexidine, can help you manage sensitive gums.

However, once plaque has hardened into tartar, it cannot be removed with normal brushing or rinsing. It needs to be removed by a dental professional.

BLEEDING GUMS AND PREGNANCY

Pregnant women are more suspectible to bleeding gums.

Hormonal changes, including pregnancy, can make the gums more sensitive. And because gum disease has been linked to premature births and low birth weight babies, good oral care is very important at this special time. Read this guide to gum health during pregnancy for expert advice from oral hygienist Dirna Grobbelaar and periodontist Dr Corlene Schnetler.

 

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The information provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical advice or used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, oral hygienist or another healthcare provider regarding your oral health or other medical conditions. Reliance on information provided on this website is solely at your own risk.

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

GUM Bi-Direction

R140,00
GUM Bi-Direction is the only interdental brush with a head that bends 90 degrees and can be locked in two different positions, enabling you to easily reach all the places in the mouth where plaque and food debris may accumulate and your toothbrush can’t reach. Ideal for adults and children with wide spaces between the teeth; food traps; orthodontic braces; sensitive, bleeding or receding gums; implants or bridges. 0.6mm: Lavender 0.7mm: Green 0.9mm: Blue 1.2mm: Pink 1.4mm: Yellow Features
  • Clever dual-position head - one brush, two positions
  • Anti-bacterial chlorhexidine coated bristles
  • Bristles are shown to help remove up to 25% more plaque than standard bristles
  • Ergonomic, soft rubber handle for superior comfort and control
  • Longer handle - easier to reach the back teeth
  • Coated wire and rounded tip - gentle on gums
  • Reusable - use for up to a week
  • Available in 5 sizes
  • Recommended by dental professionals
  • Professionals: oral hygienists, orthodontists, periodontists, implantologists
Who is it for?
  • People with wide spaces between the teeth; food traps; orthodontic braces; sensitive, bleeding or receding gums; implants or bridges

GUM Paroex Intensive Action Toothpaste 0.12% 75ml

R89,00
GUM Paroex Intensive Action Gel is a powerful dual-action toothpaste that combines chlorhexidine, the gold standard for plaque control, and CPC for antiseptic plaque control when you need it most. This gel is recommended for brushing to help restore gum health before, during and after oral surgery or treatment including: tooth extraction; implant placement; new orthodontic fittings. It is also recommended when treating gum disease, to help manage and prevent gingivitis and periodontitis. Recommended by dental professionals around the world for clinically proven results. Features & Benefits
  • Clinically proven, dual-action plaque control
  • Formulated with chlorhexidine digluconate (0.12%), the gold standard for plaque control, and CPC (0.05%) which is proven to enhance the anti-plaque power of chlorhexidine
  • Alcohol-free
  • Does not contain SLS foaming agents which can irritate the gums and interfere with chlorhexidine efficacy – it is the ideal toothpaste to use in conjunction with GUM Paroex mouthrinses (GUM Paroex Intensive Action and GUM Paroex Daily Prevention)
  • Fresh pleasant mint flavour
  • Helps reduce dental plaque accumulation
  • Helps soothe irritated, sensitive gums
  • Helps maintain healthy gums
  • Ideal pre-and post-oral surgery such as tooth extraction and implant placement
  • Ideal to use in the maintenance phase after a periodontal treatment, to address early signs of sensitive gums and also recommended for plaque control in orthodontic, denture or other prosthetic situations.
Paroex Gel contains:
  • 0.12% Chlorhexidine Digluconate and 0.05% CPC (an effective dual action antiplaque system)
  • Vitamin E, an effective antioxidant
  • Aloe vera to help nourish and soothe irritated oral tissue
  • Pro-vitamin B5 (panthenol) to revitalise oral mucosa
  • Fresh mint flavour
How to use:
  • Simply apply it to a soft toothbrush and brush after every meal, or at least twice daily, for three minutes at a time.
  • For best results use GUM Paroex Intensive Action Gel with GUM Paroex Intensive Action or Daily Prevention mouthrinses.
For adult use only.

GUM Paroex Intensive Action Mouth Rinse 0.12% 300ml

R166,00
GUM Paroex Intensive Action Mouthrinse is a powerful dual-action combination of chlorhexidine, the gold standard for plaque control, and CPC for intensive plaque control when you need it most. This alcohol-free rinse is recommended to help restore gum health before, during and after oral surgery or treatment including: tooth extraction; implant placement; new orthodontic fittings. It is also recommended when treating gum disease, to help manage and prevent gingivitis and periodontitis. Recommended by dental professionals around the world for clinically proven results. Features & Benefits:
  • Ideal for short term use
  • Clinically proven, dual-action plaque control
  • Formulated with chlorhexidine digluconate (CHX) 0.12%, the gold standard for plaque control, and cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) 0.05% which is proven to enhance the anti-plaque power of chlorhexidine
  • Alcohol-free
  • Fresh pleasant-tasting mint flavour
  • Helps reduce dental plaque accumulation
  • Helps soothe irritated, sensitive gums
  • Helps maintain healthy gums
  • Ideal pre-and post-oral surgery, tooth extraction and implant placement
How to use:
  • Use 10 ml to 15 ml twice daily for 30 seconds after brushing the teeth.
  • For best results use in conjunction with GUM Paroex Intensive Action Gel rather than regular toothpaste. When using regular toothpaste, allow 30 minutes after brushing before rinsing with GUM Paroex.
  • Recommended for short-term use. Long term use of products containing CHX (Chlorhexidine Digluconate) can sometimes cause staining of the teeth although this is temporary and can be reversed with correct tooth brushing and good oral care.
  • When used correctly the 300ml bottle should last 10 days when used twice a day. If your gum problems persist beyond 10 to 14 days please consult your dental professional.
For adult use only.

Thryve Mouth Salts 100g

R40,00
Thryve mouth salts helps neutralise acids in the throat and maintain a healthy pH balance, preventing unwanted bacteria from accumulating and causing infections. Controls and helps treat
  • Bad breath
  • Sore throats
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Bleeding and swollen gums
Mouth Health = Body Health
  • Natural antibacterial
  • Cleanses and removes plaque
  • Promotes fresh breath
  • Rebuilds gum health
  • Treats inflammation and gingivitis
  • Helps bring brightness back to your teeth – gently