If your gums bleed while you are brushing your teeth, it’s time to take action.

“If your arm or elbow suddenly started bleeding, you would do something about it,” Dr. Hinze said. “The same can be said about your teeth.”

Dr. Hinze said that bleeding gums are caused by bacteria or deposits that build up around and in between the teeth. The build-up acts as an antigen and causes increased blood flow to the gums. The increased blood flow makes the gums bleed during brushing and flossing (gingivitis).

If treatment and preventative action aren’t started right away, the bleeding gums can lead to bone loss and teeth loss (periodontal disease.) This is the most common reason for tooth loss in adults older than 35, Dr. Hinze said.

Bleeding gums is the first sign of this disease. But, it can be prevented.

“Come in and get your teeth cleaned and then renew your tooth-care routine,” Dr. Hinze said.

A healthy routine should include brushing twice a day and flossing to keep that harmful bacteria off the teeth.

“It’s so much easier to prevent than to try to treat gum disease,” Dr. Hinze said.

Sometimes, bleeding gums can be irritated by a dry mouth that is caused by some medications, specifically blood-pressure-lowering medications and diuretics. In those cases, Dr. Hinze recommends that patients visit with their doctor about switching medications to one that doesn’t have that side effect. Or, Dr. Hinze can also prescribe a medication that increases saliva flow.

For more information about gingivitis or periodontal disease or to schedule an appointment for a cleaning or check-up, call us at (308) 995-5331.