Seeing blood in the sink when brushing can be worrying. Bleeding gums is a symptom with varying causes, one of the most common of which is a tooth infection. It is not the only cause, however, and it is important to know the details.
A tooth infection occurs when bacteria reaches the root of the tooth through a crack or cavity in the tooth. Bleeding gums is just one of the symptoms.
Other symptoms of a tooth infection
When the root of the tooth is infected, it can cause a persistent toothache. The patient may also feel discomfort when chewing and when eating or drinking cold or hot foods. Severe infections may also precipitate a fever. Tooth infections also frequently form abscesses that can rupture and flood the patient's mouth with salty liquid. When an abscess ruptures it is usually accompanied by pain relief, however it is still important to see a dentist and make sure the infection is fully treated.
Treatment and prevention
If a tooth infection is not treated, the patient can develop serious and even life-threatening complications. It is imperative that a patient who suspects they have an infection seeks treatment. In most cases the dentist will treat the infection by draining the abscess. Depending on how far the infection has advanced, the dentist may decide to remove the tooth or preserve it with a root canal. The important part of the treatment is getting rid of the infection.
One of the most effective ways to prevent a tooth infection is with diligent daily care and periodic check-ups. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing will prevent cavities and plaque build up, which in turn prevents gum disease and tooth infection by limiting the opportunity for bacteria to enter the gums. Be sure to use a toothbrush that is clean and not worn out. Reducing the amount of sugar in one's diet can also help prevent infection.
Bleeding gums are not always caused by a tooth infection. Another related cause that is also common is gum disease, also known as gingivitis in the early stages and periodontitis in the later stages. Treatment and prevention of gum disease is very similar to the treatment for tooth infection.
Overzealous brushing can also cause bleeding gums, in which case paying attention to the force of brushing or buying a toothbrush with softer bristles can help. Bleeding gums may also be related to the hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy. Other common causes of bleeding gums include vitamin deficiency, leukemia or poor fitting dental appliances. Due to the myriad nature of the causes of bleeding gums, it is recommended that patients speak to their dentist and doctor to receive the correct diagnosis.
Seeing blood in the sink after brushing or flossing can be worrying. While bleeding gums is a symptom of tooth infection, there can also be many other causes. Patients experiencing bleeding should speak to their dentist and doctor to determine the right cause and treatment.
Request an appointment or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at 602-547-9007 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.