Gums bled more than usual during quarterly periodontal cleaning

by Jan

I have my gums cleaned by a periodontal hygienist quarterly, and have been doing so since 1987 (I am almost 67). After a long period where bleeding was minimal, this morning my hygienist said it was much worse than usual. She used an iodine spray to kill bacteria at the end. I am trying to think of what I might have done to cause this.

I did not notice bleeding during my normal brushing with a Sonicare elite, or flossing. I did switch to Sensodyne Extra Whitening almost 2 weeks ago, having run out of the Sensodyne Gentle Whitening I usually use. And, for a time between the cleanings I used Crest Pro Health mouthwash, but quit when I noticed my teeth were staining, and I went back to Listerine. Also, I ran out of the floss I usually use and started using Reach waxed floss, which felt like it was doing a good job of cleaning. I take no medications other than ibuprofen for achy knees, but I dodn't think I was taking any more than usual.

Because I have a disability, I use a floss holder for flossing. And, I have bridges on my lower teeth for congenital missing teeth (one on each side). I use a woven floss dipped in mouthwash to clean under the bridge. I use a custom mouth guard, but I have to say I just rinse it off, I don't really disinfect it or anything.

Do you have any thoughts on whether any of these changes could have caused the increased bleeding?

Thank you for offering this service.

Hi Jan, it sounds like you are doing a great job of taking care of your teeth! Nothing in your note jumps right out at me as an obvious reason for your gums to bleed more than ususal.

I wonder if it was any particular localized area that bled or was it more generalized. Have you had a cold or allergies that would make you breath through your mouth lately? Mouth breathing makes the gum tissue in the front of your mouth more prone to bleeding. Have you added any medications? Many types of medications can cause your mouth to be dryer than normal. Dry mouth is a common cause of gum inflammation and is one thing that could be causing your increased bleeding. Some toothpastes dry your mouth more than others. Most contain sodium laurel sulphate (SLS) that is known to dry your mouth. Mouthwash contains alcohol and that also dries your mouth. Last but not least we all have a dryer mouth as we get older.

Dry mouth may or may not be the cause of your issue but it's worth considering especially since you have such a good home care routine You may want to try some different products and see if that helps.

Thanks for writing,

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Jan 02, 2017

by: Reply:

Hi Jan, I would guess the Allegra might play a role. Dry mouth for 10 months would be more likely to cause bleeding than dry mouth for a shorter time. Maybe you can adjust the dose?

I have heard of using vaseline. I recommend it for mouth breathers who have chronic inflammation in the front of the mouth. It is easy to apply in the front but could be more difficult to apply it everywhere.

Biotene makes a gel that might be helpful for you. You use a small amount and spread it over all your gum tissue. You can buy it over the counter. Biotene rinse is also great for dry mouth.


Dec 23, 2016
more info
by: Jan

Thanks for getting back so quickly. The bleeding was generalized. My hygienist said I was a puzzle. I realized after posting that I do take one Allegra every day for persistent drainage that bothers me at night since we have moved back to the St. Louis area, not sure if that also contributed, but that is also something I've been doing continuously for about 10 months and I have had good cleanings in the past. Have you heard about putting Vaseline on the gums at night? Again many thanks, Jan

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