A bleeding wound in your mouth can be a cause for alarm, whether the blood is coming from a damaged tooth or from a wound on your gums. It's not as though you can simply put a band aid over it and get on with your day. While minor bleeding might disappear of its own accord, a dentist might need to intervene when the issue is more serious. But what can you do to control the blood flow before you can get to the dentist?
A simple gum laceration, perhaps caused by excessive flossing or a mishap with a toothpick, will generally heal of its own accord, and any bleeding should be minimal. Of course, if the wound doesn't heal in a timely fashion, having the issue examined by a dentist can be wise to rule out any other contributing factors. Be mindful that the site will be sensitive during the healing period, and acidic and spicy foods might cause discomfort. But what about when the issue is more serious, resulting in a fair amount of bleeding?
More Serious Bleeding
It might be that an untreated dental abscess has burst (which can release unpleasant-tasting pus in addition to blood) or that damage to the tooth has exposed the dental pulp (the interior nerve), which has begun to bleed. The damage in question might have been abrupt (an accident resulting in blunt force trauma to your mouth) or more gradual, such as untreated dental decay which has degraded the tooth over time. Obviously, such issues will not go away of their own accord and can in fact be classed as a dental emergency, meaning that a visit to your local emergency dentist might be necessary. But what can you do to slow the flow of blood in the immediate aftermath?
Stop the Bleeding
Biting down on a piece of sterilised gauze can help to absorb the blood so that it's not swallowed. A damp, black tea bag can achieve the same result, and the astringents present in the tea can assist in healing the wound (although of course it will not help with the underlying cause of the issue).
Be cautious with rinsing your mouth, although it will feel logical to do so in order to wash out the blood. The antiseptic ingredients in mouthwash can cause discomfort, so this should be avoided. Instead use water, or lukewarm salted water. Gently swirl the liquid in your mouth (so that you don't aggravate the wound) and then spit.
If the damage to the tooth also has the potential to lead to swelling, use a cold compress gently applied to the outside of your jaw. Over the counter pain relief can also be of assistance, with ibuprofen in particular having anti-inflammatory qualities.
While these methods can help to alleviate bleeding and discomfort, it's important to remember that they won't fix any serious underlying issues, so you'll still need to see a dentist.