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Top 10 Reasons Why Bleeding Gums are Not OKAY!

By: Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS

April 23, 2015

April 23 Bloody ProphyI am certain that you have heard patients say “…But my gums always bleed…”

If someone washes their hands and they start to bleed, what does that mean? Do you think they would feel a bit panicked? Would they call their doctor or maybe go as far as rush to the emergency room?

You probably get my point here. It is not normal!  (Be sure to click on the picture to the left to view the video with more information)

My next question is: “Why do patients come to the dental office and think it is no problem that their gums bleed when they brush their teeth?”

Here is a list of Top 10 Reasons Your Patient should not be okay with their gums bleeding:

  1. Bleeding gums are a sign of inflammation
    • Inflammation leads to other diseases in the body – Real important one here!
  2. Trauma to the gums
    • Aggressive tooth brushing or tooth picking, mouth trauma, etc.
  3. Early sign of Periodontal Disease
  4. Can be associated with a vitamin deficiency
    • Scurvy, Vitamin K, etc.
  5. Hormonal changes
    • Pregnancy, Puberty and Menopause, etc.
  6. Medications
    • Aspirin, medications for patients at risk for heart attack or stroke, epilepsy, chemotherapy drugs, etc.
  7. Liver disease
    • Liver disease associated with chronic alcoholism disturbs the liver metabolism which may lead to bleeding gums
  8. Various cancers
    • Leukemia or multiple myeloma may cause gums to bleed
  9. Stress
  10. HIV

Next time you hear a patient say “…but my gums always bleed…” be sure to review a list of reasons they need to be concerned about their gums bleeding.

Use statements that paint a clear picture of why a patient needs to be very concerned about their gums bleeding.

Many times dental professionals don’t want to scare their patient so they eliminate the important words such as bleeding. Next time you have a patient with bleeding gums say the word “Bleeding” and tell your patients why they should be concerned about bleeding gums.

We are in the business of providing a longer and healthier life for our patients. Give them this important message and you are most likely to see them say “YES” to treatment and return for routine dental hygiene appointments.

How do you treat patients who have a lot of bleeding? What does your treatment plan look like when a patient is slightly overdue for their hygiene appointment and they have more than normal amounts of sub and supra-gingival deposits?

When showing patients their bleeding gums and when talking about why bleeding gums are not healthy, use words that will add value to your patient so they understand the benefit for accepting treatment, want to pay for necessary treatment and schedule for future routine visits.

Many patients will create a change in their thinking of the hygiene appointment when they understand the value and benefits of a healthy mouth.

Write down words that you know add value and next to these words write the benefits when patients make the change from disease to health.

Each patient will have different values so understand what is important to them.

Write down the words you can say to help them shift their view on bleeding gums. Next to the “value” word draw a vertical line and write a benefit next to that word on the other side of the vertical line. Practice saying these words that add value and benefits to your patients. Now you will see your patients return for routine visits and not cancel thinking “It’s JUST a cleaning!”

Is this a nebulous area in your dental office? Not sure if your patient will return for another prophy appointment?

Is this a hot button for you or your patients?

Please comment below and tell us more about your side of this story on bleeding gums.


Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is founder of Dental Practice Solutions since 2000. She serves dental offices throughout the world by adding valuable services and systems to the dental hygiene department. She is very unique in the way she is able to look at the total profitability of your dental practice NOT only the dental hygiene department.

Debbie is a former Dental Hygiene Program Director and is a former Clinical Assistant Professor from the University of Southern California. Please contact her for a 30 minute No charge Discovery Call to find the powerful areas  to focus your efforts to be your most profitable and work with more ease during your day at the office:  Call to schedule: 888-816-1511 or schedule a time here: http://bit.ly/30minDiscoveryCall