What Causes Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums are often associated with gum disease. Gums which bleed should be taken seriously as they can also suggest other underlying health issues. Patients have bleeding gums from something simple such as ill-fitting dentures or brushing too aggressively. However, patients who experience frequent gum bleeding may indicate something more serious such as gum disease, leukemia, a vitamin deficiency, or other issues.

Bleeding gums can indicate the patient has poor oral hygiene or other dental issues. Gum disease can make the gums more sensitive and more likely to bleed.

Gingivitis is caused by the accumulation of plaque around the gum line. Plaque is a sticky substance which contains bacteria and debris. In most cases, it can be removed through brushing the teeth and good oral hygiene. When a patient fails to remove plaque, it can harden into tartar. Tartar is very difficult to remove at home and often requires a professional cleaning. Tartar can increase bleeding and cause gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease. Common signs of gingivitis include gums which are red, swollen, tender, and bleed.

The more advanced form of gum disease is periodontitis. When gingivitis is not treated, it eventually leads to periodontitis. Periodontal disease is infection which is in the gums, jawbone, and connective tissues of the teeth and gums. Severe periodontitis can result in loose teeth or the teeth fall out completely.

Patients should use a soft toothbrush for brushing their teeth as medium or hard bristle brushes can damage the gums and cause bleeding. It is also important to use gentle pressure and circular motion when brushing. Brushing too aggressively can cause bleeding. Some patients can benefit from the use of an electric toothbrush. These toothbrushes are specially designed to effectively clean the teeth and near the gumline.

Another cause for bleeding gums is a vitamin C or K deficiency. Patients can ask their doctor to check their vitamin levels to determine if they are deficient. Patients should consume a well-balanced diet which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C rich foods include bell peppers, broccoli, citrus fruits and juices, potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes. Foods which are rich in vitamin K include watercress, kale, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, mustard greens, olive or canola oil, and soybeans.

Denture patients can also be more prone to bleeding gums. Ill-fitting dentures can harm to the gums and cause bleeding. Patients who experience bleeding caused by their dentures should contact their dentist or orthodontist. The dental professional can often make adjustments to the dentures or device to ensure it fits properly.

Another common cause for gums which bleed easily is pregnancy. Pregnancy causes significant hormonal changes which can cause increased gum sensitivity and make the gums more likely to bleed. Blood disorders such as leukemia or hemophilia can be the culprit for bleeding gums. Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can make patients more prone to bleeding. Never modify or stop taking a medication before consulting your doctor.

All patients, including those with gums which bleed, should practice good oral hygiene at home. A good oral hygiene regimen includes twice daily brushing, daily flossing, and regular visits to the dentist. These visits to the dentist include an examination and professional cleaning.

Patients who have bleeding gums should follow up with their dentist right away to determine the cause. The dentist can help to ensure the issue is properly treated, prevent long-term issues, and ensure the best possible outcome.

When Should I Be Concerned with Bleeding Gums