Bleeding Gums

bleeding gums

Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums are a clinical sign of gum disease. Gums will naturally bleed if they are pierced or cut just like any other tissue in the body, but when gums bleed spontaneously, or from routine brushing and flossing, it is an undeniable sign that something is wrong and it should never be ignored or left unaddressed.

The primary and almost solitary reason for gingivitis is plaque.  Plaque is the sticky film that accumulates on and around our teeth that we aim to brush and floss away.  It is comprised of millions of bacteria that are capable of causing an immune response – just as they would anywhere else in the body.  We are all familiar with what a wound that is not properly cleaned looks like – it will become red and puffy; inflamed.  The same process takes place in the mouth, but when gums become red and inflamed, they bleed. While thorough brushing is very effective at removing plaque, there is another area in which plaque can accumulate, and that is in between the teeth.  There is a natural space between the tooth and gum – that is the area we are cleaning when we floss.  If we fail to floss our teeth that area will inevitably accumulate plaque because it is not accessible with a toothbrush alone.

Gum disease always starts in between the teeth!  This is why dental professionals are always stressing the need to floss.  It is also important to point out that there are instances in which the gums will respond in an exaggerated fashion to plaque buildup.  Those include, but are not limited to: hormonal changes (especially those associated with pregnancy), certain medications (particularly blood thinners and blood pressure medications), and underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, an autoimmune disorder, and certain types of cancer.  If your gums are bleeding, it’s important to have your Periodontist evaluate your condition and determine its underlying cause.

Bad Breath

While bad breath is a very common complaint, it is not one that should be overlooked.  Everyone has experienced bad breath or halitosis at one point or another – be it from eating too much garlic or onions, or pesky post-nasal drip; but when bad breath becomes persistent, it is an indication that something is going on. The culprit behind the bad breath can range anywhere from something minor and easily correctable, to something more serious such as an underlying health problem. Bad breath happens to be a very common symptom and indicator of gum disease.  At Southern Delaware Dental Specialists we have a highly competent dental staff supervised by Dr. Sanz, a periodontist who specialized in the proper assessment and treatment of gum disease in all its forms. If bad breath is something that has become an issue for you, a thorough and specialized exam with us will quickly reveal any dental and/or gum issues that could be causing you this problem.

Loose Teeth

While losing teeth is a normal part of childhood, having loose teeth as an adult is a sign of a potentially serious dental condition and should always be evaluated by a professional.  The most common causes of loose teeth in adulthood are:

  1. Advanced Periodontal (Gum) Disease/Periodontitis
  2. Trauma
  3. Clenching/Grinding
  4. Orthodontic treatment

The only time loose adult teeth may be considered normal, is when a patient is currently undergoing orthodontic treatment and forces are being used to move the teeth into an ideal position.  The other three causes are always cause for concern and we will discuss them further here:

Advanced Periodontal (Gum) Disease/Periodontitis

The most common and most serious cause for loose adult teeth is advanced gum disease or Periodontitis. When inflammation of the gums is left untreated, the disease can progress to the point of affecting the supporting structures of the teeth – the gingival fibers that connect the gums to the teeth and the teeth to the gums, as well as the bone that holds the teeth in place.  When loose teeth are found in the presence of gingival inflammation, it can be a strong clinical sign that it is the direct result of bone loss and damage to the ligament surrounding the tooth.  Loose adult teeth should always be properly examined and assessed by a Periodontist who specializes in this area of dentistry.

Loose tooth due to trauma:

A physical injury incurred from an automobile accident, sport injury, etc. can loosen a tooth or even knock it out completely.  If a tooth has been cracked, chipped, loosened or knocked out due to an injury, it should be evaluated by your dentist immediately. At Southern Delaware Dental Specialists we are staffed with all of the dental specialties necessary to ensure that your particular issue is addressed in the swiftest and most comprehensive manner available in your area.


Clenching or grinding is a very common habit and is another possible cause for loose teeth.  This habit, which your dentist may refer to as: “bruxism”, can actually stretch the ligament around the tooth and make the teeth loose.  Bruxism can also cause tremendous sensitivity and wear that can lead to the need for more extensive and costly dental treatment.  There are many different types of appliances that can be fabricated and designed to address a patient’s particular issue and they should always be done under the guided recommendation and care of your dentist.