Imagine you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, and suddenly notice that you didn’t just spit out toothpaste, but also some blood with it. Well, before you get into a panic mode, hear us out! The reason for this can be your bleeding gums. Now, it could either be a one-time thing (maybe you brushed or flossed too hard and have gum bleeding around one tooth), or it can be persistent. If it is the latter, then your gums might also be sensitive to touch and perhaps be swollen and puffy. Whatever it is, it’s better to not neglect it as that can be due to an underlying cause.
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Causes of bleeding gums
Gum bleeding is a common dental problem, and can be caused by several factors, including certain health issues. Here are some causes of bleeding gums that you might want to look out for:
Gingivitis: This is a common reason for bleeding gums. Usually it occurs because of the lack of a good oral hygiene routine and neglecting mouth health. People usually develop gingivitis when the plaque accumulates and stays on the gum line for too long. Inadequate brushing and not flossing can lead to this gum condition, along with other dental issues such as tartar and halitosis. Apart from bleeding in the gums, other symptoms of gingivitis include puffiness and swelling, and soreness in the mouth and around the gums.
Periodontitis: Bleeding gums can also be caused due to periodontitis. This is an advanced form of gingivitis in which the gums, jawbone, and the supportive tissue that connects your gums and teeth get infected. This condition can eventually lead to loss of teeth.
Vitamin deficiencies: If you have bleeding gums without brushing too hard or neglecting your teeth, then it could be due to some underlying vitamin deficiencies. Get your vitamin C and vitamin K levels checked.
Oral appliances: Sometimes, installation or dentures can lead to bleeding gums as well. If that’s the case, you should consult with your dentist and take an appointment to get new impressions and re-fit the oral appliances.
Pregnancy: Your hormones can also affect the gums, especially in women. Hormonal changes that occur during the course of pregnancy can make the gums more sensitive and lead to gum bleeding.
Medical conditions: Some diseases and medical disorders like leukemia and hemophilia, can also put your gums at risk and cause them to bleed.
Certain medications: Blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, warfarin, heparin, and the likes can also cause the gums to bleed more often, especially if they’re taken regularly.
Treatment of bleeding gums
Depending on the specific cause of your bleeding gums, there are numerous treatment methods you can opt for. So, if you are experiencing bleeding gums, here are some things you can do:
Dental hygiene: Since poor oral care is the leading cause of bleeding gums, improving your existing oral care routine is the first step to treat them. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each. But be careful not to brush too hard. Clean thoroughly, and floss afterwards. Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash, which is medically approved to stave off the plaque-causing mouth bacteria. Avoid carbohydrates and sugary foods and drinks that can increase the accumulation of plaque around the gum line and lead to bleeding and other forms of gum diseases.
Salt water rinses: It is a good idea to rinse your mouth with a mixture of warm water and salt if your gums are bleeding. Add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and rinse three to four times a day. This can reduce the bacteria in your mouth and help ease the bleeding, along with preventing wound infection in the gums.
Nutritious diet: If your gums are bleeding due to vitamin deficiencies, it is important to consume nutritious, balanced meals that contain the necessary vitamins. For vitamin C, you can try including citrus fruits and juices, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, and so on. Foods that are rich in vitamin K include spinach, kale, olive oil, lettuce, soybeans, canola oil, watercress, mustard greens, and so on.
Quit smoking: If you are a smoker, then your gums are more vulnerable to bleeding. So, it is a good idea to cut down, or preferably quit smoking altogether if you are experiencing bleeding in gums.
Reduce stress: Did you know that stress can lead to periodontal disease? Studies have shown that emotional stress can impact the immune system, cause hormonal issues, and inflammation in the body and lead to bleeding in the gums. Lead a healthy lifestyle and try to reduce stress as much as you can.
Visit the doctor: For other health issues that might be causing bleeding in the gums, it is important to consult medical experts. Visit your doctor for any health check-ups or tests that you might need to run and get appropriate medical assistance and treatment.
Bleeding in gums is preventable, especially if it is occurring due to poor oral hygiene. Maintain a good oral care routine and visit the dentist once every six months for an overall dental check-up. Also, make sure you use proper dental products for daily usage. The best toothbrush for bleeding gums is the Oral-B electric toothbrush that cleans the teeth effectively and also comes with pressure sensors to let you know if you are brushing too hard.
Read more about what causes and how to prevent gum diseases