Electric Toothbrushes

Can an Electric Toothbrush Cause Bleeding Gums?

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Is it normal for the rotations of the toothbrush to cause bleeding around the teeth or gums? I've been trying to use an electric toothbrush (not the expensive kind) and my teeth and gums started bleeding, one area in particular.

by Dr. Burhenne

Can an Electric Toothbrush Cause Bleeding Gums?

A few days ago, I started using an electric toothbrush and my teeth and gums started bleeding in one area in particular. Is it normal for the rotations of the toothbrush to cause bleeding around the teeth or gums?

A: Sorry to hear that your gums are bleeding, but I’m glad that you noticed this. In general, bleeding gums are an indicator for gum disease. You might hear your dentist call this “bleeding upon provocation.” In other words, gums should not bleed when you push on them, floss, or brush them. I tell my patients to brush and floss more if their gums are bleeding — not less.

In your case, an inexpensive, low-quality toothbrush can abrade the gums and make them bleed and even prematurely wear tooth structure away. I would immediately start flossing twice a day for a period of six weeks and brush three times a day with a high-quality electric toothbrush. What do I mean by high quality? Anything that Oral-B or Sonicare makes fits this standard. A great solution is the $25 Oral-B Precision Clean, which I buy for my daughters to use.

Your question demonstrates a viable concern that everyone should have; when your gums bleed, there is a major health issue! Many of my patients see blood when they floss and are turned off from flossing altogether. As I said before, bleeding means you need to floss more!

In some cases, bleeding gums aren’t necessarily an indication of gum disease. Other causes of bleeding gums include pregnancy, cancer, alcoholism, deficiency of vitamins B12 and C, and others. But an electric toothbrush, used properly, shouldn’t be one of them.

I recommend scheduling an appointment to have your teeth cleaned (every six months is the standard) and getting in the habit of brushing after every meal and flossing daily.

Mark Burhenne DDS

What is your experience with bleeding gums and electric toothbrushes? Join the discussion and leave a comment below!

read next: Bleeding Gums: What It Means and When to See Your Dentist

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