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Healthy gums are pink and firm to the touch. Unfortunately, anyone can have gum issues from time to time. You’ve probably seen your gums become red and swollen (or even bleed) when you brush or floss your teeth too vigorously. If your gums are healthy, they will recover quickly from mild trauma. However, if swollen, irritated, bleeding gums last for several days or longer, there is likely an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

What Causes Red, Bleeding Gums?
Often, red, swollen, or sensitive gums indicate gum disease. According to the American Dental Association, half of Americans 30 years or older have some stage of gum disease. Despite this, there are other things that can cause swollen, bleeding gums, including:

– Pregnancy or hormonal changes
– Bleeding disorders
– Brushing vigorously or flossing incorrectly
– Wearing dentures that don’t fit
– Chemotherapy
– Blood thinner medication
– Vitamin deficiency
– Infections
– Using tobacco products

How Can I Prevent Bleeding, Irritated Gums?
Proper dental hygiene is an excellent way to help prevent red, swollen, or bleeding gums. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day and floss at least once daily. When you brush, make sure you brush all surfaces of the teeth and pay special attention to the gum line. When flossing, be sure to floss under the gum line. Use a fresh section of floss for each tooth to prevent the movement of plaque from tooth to tooth.

What Treatments Are Available?
In addition to practicing proper oral hygiene, you can try swishing salt water in your mouth. This can help reduce swelling. If the gums are bleeding, press a gauze pad dipped in ice water or a damp tea bag on the area. Over-the-counter painkillers can relieve any additional discomfort. Do not use Advil, as it thins the blood. If these treatments are not sufficient, visit Smile Dental Studio for a professional dental cleaning, as this can remove tartar and plaque from the area.

We invite you to contact our dental office in Salt Lake City, Utah, at 801-583-4500 today to learn more and to schedule your next visit with our dentist, Dr. Denny Cho.