People commonly wonder if it’s a problem that their gums bleed a little when they brush their teeth. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Healthy gums don’t bleed, and when they do, it’s usually due to gum inflammation. This disease is called gingivitis and it can be treated and prevented.
Sometimes, gum inflammation is due to bruising, but it’s usually caused by bacterial infection. The mouth is home to hundreds to types of bacteria, most of which co-exist with us healthily, but if food debris isn’t removed quickly enough, bacteria can grow out of control. They most often cause tartar to build up on the bottom of dental crowns, allowing acids to get stuck in a place where they have contact with gums.
Regular brushing is crucial to preventing gingivitis (provided that the patient is using a soft-bristled brush), but help from professional hygienists is necessary to clean below the gum line. There are also some factors which make gum disease more likely, including pregnancy, use of blood thinners, and dry mouth. (That last one is due to saliva’s function keeping the mouth clean.) Smoking also increases the risk of gingivitis.