Bleeding gums are often an indication of a dental health issue, although they may simply be a sign that you’re brushing your teeth too hard. In this article, we’re exploring the potential causes of bleeding in the gums, as well as how you can prevent and treat the problem of bleeding gums.
What are bleeding gums?
Bleeding gums are usually a sign of gum disease - in fact, this is the most common symptom. However, frequent bleeding in the gums can also indicate an underlying health problem, including periodontitis (an advanced form of gum disease), leukemia (cancer of the blood), vitamin deficiency, and a lack of clotting cells (platelets).
While many people will experience bleeding gums occasionally, if you notice frequent bleeding in your gums, it’s important to see your dentist so they can assess the issue and identify the cause of the bleeding.
What can cause bleeding gums?
Brushing your teeth too hard
If you experience gum bleeding while brushing your teeth, you may be brushing too aggressively. Try using less force when brushing or switch to a softer toothbrush to avoid damaging your gums.
If you wear dentures, bleeding gums may be a sign that your dentures aren’t fitting correctly. Talk to your dentist about ensuring your dentures are the correct fit for your mouth.
Gingivitis is a disease of the gums caused by plaque buildup on the gum lines, which develops due to debris and bacteria on the surface of your teeth. Brushing your teeth removes this plaque, but if you don’t brush or floss regularly or properly, it can remain on your gums.
When plaque isn’t removed, it can harden and become tartar (calculus), which increases gum bleeding, as well as causing gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include:
● Puffy (inflamed) gums
● Soreness around the gums
● Bleeding gums
eriodontal disease is an infection of the gums, jawbone and tissues that connect your teeth and gums. It occurs when gingivitis becomes advanced and can eventually lead to teeth becoming loose and falling out.
If you’re deficient in vitamins C and K, this can cause your gums to bleed more easily. If you have bleeding gums that don’t improve through better oral care, talk to your doctor about whether you may be deficient in these important vitamins.
Foods that are rich in vitamin C include:
● Orange juice and other citrus fruit juices
Foods that are rich in vitamin K include:
● Swiss chard
● Mustard greens
● Canola oil
● Olive oil
Hormonal changes in the body experienced during pregnancy can lead to bleeding gums, as well as causing gums to be more sensitive.
Certain blood-thinning medications may increase your risk of bleeding gums. These medications include aspirin, warfarin and heparin.
In rare cases, bleeding gums can be a sign of a more serious health condition, including bleeding disorders such as hemophilia and leukemia. If you experience frequent bleeding in the gums, talk to your dentist so they can identify the cause of the issue.
How can I prevent bleeding gums?
Practice good oral hygiene
Maintaining good oral hygiene practices - including brushing teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day - is an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy, which will reduce your risk of bleeding.
Visit your dentist regularly for a check-up and clean
Keeping up with your six-monthly check-up and cleans at your local National Dental Care Group practice can help to keep bleeding gums at bay. Not only will you receive a thorough clean of your teeth and gums, but your dentist will also check for any oral health issues which may be causing your gums to bleed.
Use the right toothbrush
As mentioned above, if you experience bleeding while brushing your teeth, it may be a good idea to switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. Alternatively, if you’re using a manual toothbrush, opting for an electric one may help you apply the right pressure to avoid aggravating your gums. You can talk to your dentist about how to select the best toothbrush for your needs.
See your dentist if you’re concerned about bleeding gums
If you’re worried about bleeding gums or are experiencing frequent bleeding, talk to your National Dental Care Group practitioner - they can examine your mouth, teeth and gums in order to identify any issues and establish the cause of the bleeding.
To make an appointment with your local National Dental Care Group practice, book online today.