are bleeding gums?
Bleeding gums are the most often
symptom of gum disease. But it can also point to other health problems.
Occasional bleeding of the gums
can be caused by brushing your teeth too vigorously or wearing dentures that
don’t fit correctly. Frequent gum bleeding can also indicate more serious
(an advanced form of gum disease)
(cancer of the blood)
- vitamin deficiency
- lack of clotting cells (platelets)
Dental conditions that can cause bleeding
Dental care issues are the
primary cause of bleeding gums. Gingivitis
(inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis make your gums sensitive and prone
Most people develop gingivitis
when plaque stays on gum lines too long. Plaque refers to the debris and
bacteria that stick to your teeth. Brushing your teeth removes plaque and can
prevent you from developing cavities (dental caries). But plaque may stay on
your gum line, if you don’t brush and floss properly. If plaque isn’t removed
it can harden into tartar (calculus), which will increase bleeding. The
accumulation of plaque near your gums can also cause gingivitis.
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- puffy gums
- soreness in the mouth and around the gums
- bleeding gums
(periodontitis) can occur when gingivitis becomes advanced. Periodontal disease
is as infection of the gums, jawbone, and supportive tissues that connect your
teeth and gums. Periodontitis can cause your teeth to loosen or fall out.
Vitamins C and K deficiencies can
also cause gums to bleed easily. But vitamin deficiencies aren’t often seen in
people who live in developed countries, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Healthy children and adults living in
developed areas of the world have access to vitamins C and K through food and
Ask your doctor to check your
levels of vitamins C and K if you have bleeding gums that aren’t caused by
improper dental care. Also, follow a diet that contains both nutrients to
ensure you’re getting the vitamins you need to stay healthy.
Foods rich in vitamin C include:
- citrus fruits and juices
- bell peppers
Foods rich in vitamin K include:
- Swiss chard
- mustard greens
- canola oil
- olive oil
causes of bleeding gums
People who wear dentures also may
sometimes experience bleeding gums. This is more likely when dentures fit too
tightly. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist if dentures or other oral
appliances are causing your gums to bleed. They may need to take new impressions
to create a better fitting mouthpiece.
Pregnancy commonly causes of gum
bleeding. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can cause the gums to be
Bleeding disorders like
hemophilia and leukemia can also increase your risk of bleeding gums. Your gums
might bleed more often if you take blood-thinning medications. Drugs in this
class include warfarin, aspirin, and heparin.
Treatment of bleeding gums
Good dental hygiene is the first
step to managing bleeding gums. Visit your dentist twice per year for professional
cleaning. Your dentist will let you know if you have gingivitis and teach you
how to brush your teeth properly. Proper brushing and flossing can remove
plaque from your gum line and reduce your risk of developing periodontal
Your dentist may also show you to
use an antiseptic mouthwash to minimize plaque that forms in your mouth. And a
rinse of warm salt water can help soothe swollen gums that bleed easily.
Use a soft toothbrush. It’ll be gentle
on inflamed gums, especially if you experience bleeding after brushing your
teeth. Medium and hard bristles may be too abrasive for your delicate gums. You
might also consider using an electric toothbrush. The specially designed brush
heads on these toothbrushes can help you to clean your gum line more easily
than a manual toothbrush.
Schedule an appointment with your
primary care provider to determine if dental health is not the underlying issue
causing your bleeding gums. A physical examination and blood work can help determine
the cause of your bleeding. Treatment will vary according to your condition.