Are you noticing frequent spots of blood while eating something like an apple? Do you see blood spots every time you brush or floss? If your answer to any of the above questions is a yes, you may be suffering from a dental condition known as bleeding gums.
Occasional slight bleeding from gums during routine oral hygiene can be attributed to faulty oral hygiene practices and aggressive brushing. Gums can also bleed a little during a professional dental cleaning appointment, and this is completely natural. However, if you are experiencing bleeding from gums on a regular basis for a long time without any apparent cause, it can point towards more complex ailments.
One of the most common causes of bleeding gums is gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. In some cases, bleeding gums can signal something much more severe and can be a symptom of complex systemic diseases. Read ahead as we list everything you need to know about this dental condition.
What Can Cause Bleeding Gums?
As mentioned earlier, bleeding gums can be a symptom of gum diseases and, in some situations, can even signal something more alarming. Let’s break down different dental and medical conditions which can give rise to bleeding gums.
Dental Conditions Which Can Lead To Bleeding Gums
A poor oral hygiene routine prediHow Arefgfgfgsposes you to various complications. Irregular and faulty brushing techniques, not flossing, using an old frayed toothbrush, and poor quality toothpaste cannot adequately clean your teeth. Such bad oral hygiene practices contribute to the accumulation of plaque in the mouth. Plaque is a yellowish sticky film that adheres to the teeth surfaces, at and near the gum margin. Plaque contains various microbes and oral debris. While most of these bacteria are harmless and normal commensals of the mouth, some can be disease-causing under suitable conditions.
With time, the plaque keeps accumulating and eventually calcifies and hardens to form calculus which becomes a safe haven for disease-causing bacteria. These bacteria metabolize sugars for energy and release acidic and toxic substances as byproducts. These byproducts are responsible for causing inflammation of the gums which eventually leads to gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the initial, mild and non-destructive form of gum disease. The inflammatory response leads to painful and swollen gums. Bleeding gums is also a known symptom of gingivitis and is one of the most common causes of it.
Gingivitis, if left untreated, progresses to its severe and destructive form, periodontitis. Once periodontitis sets in, it starts destroying the gums and underlying jawbone. The gums will bleed much easily, even under the smallest of forces and disturbance. The disease will ultimately lead to loose and mobile teeth. If still left untreated, the disease will keep progressing over time and eventually lead to teeth loss.
Periodontitis tends to be more severe in diabetic patients. If you have loose teeth, swollen, reddish and bleeding gums, there are high chances that you are suffering from periodontitis. Please schedule an appointment at our dental clinic today to get started on your journey to better oral health.
Systemic Diseases And Conditions Associated With Bleeding Gums
Many systemic diseases and conditions are known to present bleeding gums as a symptom. This shows that bleeding gums can be a sign of something more complex and should be checked out at the earliest by a board-certified dentist. Let’s take a look at various medical conditions and diseases associated with bleeding gums.
Vitamin C Deficiency
The deficiency of vitamin C has been linked to bleeding gums. Vitamin C plays a significant role in the proper functioning of our body. It helps the tissues grow and is also responsible for bodies repair mechanisms. Vitamin C helps with uneventful wound healing and also strengthens bones and teeth. Lack of an adequate amount of vitamin C can trigger chronic fatigue and make you feel irritable. With time, its deficiency can also lead to bleeding and swollen gums. A severe lack of Vitamin C causes scurvy. Swollen, friable and bleeding gums are a classic sign of scurvy.
Lack Of Vitamin K
If your gums bleed easily, it can be because of vitamin K deficiency. Vit. K plays an essential role in the blood clotting mechanism of the body. A deficiency of Vitamin K can lead to bleeding problems like bleeding gums.
Many studies show a link between pregnancy and the occurrence of gum diseases. It is seen that the hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy put females at a greater risk of suffering from gum diseases like gingivitis. As mentioned earlier, bleeding gums happen to be one of the symptoms of gingivitis. Bacteria responsible for gingivitis can also reach the bloodstream and wreak havoc. Untreated pregnancy gingivitis has also been linked to higher chances of miscarriages. Therefore, it becomes imperative to schedule regular dental appointments during pregnancy and ensure impeccable oral hygiene.
Hormonal Changes During Puberty
Hormonal changes during puberty make teenagers susceptible to gingivitis which leads to bleeding from gums. Scheduling regular dental visits at least once every six months will help you stay at the top of your oral health and prevent such diseases from arising.
Years of researches and studies have shown a strong association between diabetes and periodontitis. Bleeding and swollen gums can be a sign of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Patients with diabetes also have 2 to 3 times higher chances of suffering from periodontitis, a destructive gum disease. Uncontrolled sugar levels disturb the body’s ability to heal and compromise immunity. This makes a diabetic patient much more susceptible to gum diseases. It is also seen that people with good sugar control tend to have less severe gum disease, and people with gum diseases tend to have poor sugar control. In conclusion, if you have bleeding gums, it might be due to an underlying cause like diabetes.
Heart conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and atherosclerosis are directly associated with gum diseases like periodontitis. Such heart conditions can reflect as bleeding gums and need immediate medical attention.
Swollen, puffy, and bleeding gums can also be a sign of blood cancer like leukemia.
Our blood platelets are responsible for clot formation and help stop bleeding. In a person with leukemia, platelet count lowers, which disturbs our body’s healing capability. This means the body will find it harder to stop the bleeding in different parts of the body, including the gums. People with leukemia also tend to have compromised immunity which puts them at a higher risk of suffering from gum diseases, which further can lead to bleeding gums.
If your gums bleed easily when you brush, floss, or eat and the bleeding refuses to stop on its own, you may be suffering from a blood condition known as thrombocytopenia. Thrombocytopenia happens when the blood platelet count is low. Lack of platelets reduces the body’s ability to form clots which means you will bleed easily, and the bleeding will not stop on its own as the blood clotting mechanism is impaired.
Hemophilia And Von Willebrand’s Disease
Bleeding gums in the absence of trauma or injury are often reported by patients who have hemophilia. Hemophilia is usually an inherited blood disorder in which the blood fails to clot properly. This leads to spontaneous and often unstoppable bleeding, even from minor cuts and bruises. There are three types of hemophilia, namely, Hemophilia A, B and C, based on the defective protein and clotting factors. The most common type amongst them is Hemophilia A. Similarly, Von Willebrand’s disease is also a blood clotting disorder. In the presence of such conditions, gums tend to bleed more profusely and easily once the gum disease sets in. Patients with these blood disorders are also at higher risk of bleeding gums. Therefore, an excellent oral hygiene routine combined with regular dental appointments becomes of the essence in such conditions.
Anemia is a medical condition characterized by a lack of an adequate amount of red blood cells. Pernicious anemia is caused due to a deficiency or malabsorption of Vit. B12 and can give rise to bleeding from gums.
HIV Induced Bleeding Gums
HIV attacks the immune system and compromises it. Even the slightest and mildest form of infection exacerbates and tends to become dangerous. Patients with HIV tend to suffer from a plethora of dental problems, including bleeding gums.
Certain medications like blood thinners, antidepressants, etc., can also lead to bleeding gums as a side effect. These medications tend to make the oral tissues susceptible to easy bruising and cause gums to bleed.
Faulty Dental Restorations
Defective dental fillings, loose and faulty dentures can also support plaque deposition, gum diseases and even trauma to the gums. Therefore, faulty restorations can also be a cause for bleeding gums.
How are Bleeding Gums Treated?
Treatment of bleeding gums will vary according to the extent of the disease and the underlying cause. In this section, we will take a look at different approaches for treating bleeding gums.
Scaling And Deep Cleaning
- One of the most common and leading causes of bleeding gums is dental diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. As mentioned earlier, these are caused by bacteria that reside in the plaque and calculus. Scaling is a dental procedure that is used to dislodge and clean your teeth’ surfaces and gum margins of plaque and calculus. Once the plaque and calculus are removed, it lowers the bacterial load of the mouth and gives the diseased and infected gums a fighting chance. If you have slight teeth mobility due to gum diseases, opting for a deep cleaning procedure can be extremely beneficial.
- As the bacterial load decreases, the gums begin the healing process; slowly and with time, you will see that your previously mobile teeth have become a little firm. If you had rolled and receded gums, they would come back to their intended place once the healing is complete. However, in cases of massive destruction, periodontal surgeries may have to be carried out to help the gums regenerate and reach their proper levels.
- If the calculus deposition has also occurred below the gum line, the gums are incised and reflected to remove these bacterial houses.
- Deep cleaning or scaling procedure will help the gums heal, and treat the underlying disease, thus eliminating the presence of bleeding gums. Apart from this, your dentist will also prescribe you a prescription-strength antibiotic mouthwash to help with the proper resolution of the infection.
- In cases of severe and widespread gum infection, scaling and deep cleaning procedures may not suffice on their own. In such cases, your dentist will put you on a course of antibiotics that will clear out any residual bacteria, thus aiding the healing process. Make sure you complete the entire course of antibiotics for proper resolution. An incomplete course of antibiotics will not clear out the infection and will end up making the bacteria resistant to the medicine.
- Many people with diabetes tend to suffer from gum diseases, and deranged and uncontrolled sugar levels make things worse. In such cases, your dentist will first perform complete oral prophylaxis and then advise you to consult a physician for optimum sugar level control. Ensure you have excellent oral hygiene and schedule regular visits to your dentist if you wish to keep your teeth for life.
Treatment Of Underlying Cause
- If an underlying medical condition is responsible for bleeding gums, then a proper evaluation and treating the underlying disease becomes of the essence.
- Bleeding gums can signal medically complex diseases and often can help with the diagnosis of such complex disorders. When you schedule an appointment with a dentist, they will conduct a complete oral examination, and if they suspect something further, they will refer you to the concerned specialist.
- Treating the underlying condition combined with oral prophylaxis will eventually help treat bleeding gums.
If you are suffering from bleeding gums, do not ignore it. Consult our specialist board-certified dentist today and stay at the peak of your oral as well as overall health.
Can I Prevent Bleeding Gums?
The answer to this question is a YES! You can take specific measures and follow some of our top tips to ensure you stay away from bleeding gums. Read ahead as we elaborate on preventive measures for gum diseases and bleeding gums.
- The most important thing to remember if you wish to stay away from bleeding gums is to ensure you have a good oral hygiene routine. Having good oral hygiene will prevent the accumulation of plaque, which prevents gum diseases and bleeding gums.
- Get yourself a soft-bristled nylon toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day, once when you wake up and once before bed. While brushing, ensure that you cover all your teeth and each of their surfaces. Pay extra attention to the back teeth as they generally tend to get missed.
- If you don’t floss, this might be the right time to start doing so. It would help if you ideally flossed at least once a day, and it should be done before you brush. Flossing is essential as a regular toothbrush cannot reach between the gaps of your teeth. Use a piece of floss to remove and dislodge any accumulated plaque and food debris from between the teeth. Make sure you cover all the teeth and go deep near the gum line. Flossing will ensure proper cleaning, and you will stay disease-free.
- You can also supplement your oral hygiene routine with mouthwash. Rinsing your mouth with the help of mouthwash will help you get rid of any remaining offending agents in your mouth. Moreover, the ingredients which are often used in a mouthwash have antibacterial properties, which helps keep the microbial growth under control. Another plus point of using mouthwash is that it will give you a fresh and pleasant smelling breath.
- Rinse your mouth after every meal to ensure no food residue stays in your mouth.
- If you have diabetes, please make sure you are taking all your prescribed medications. Follow a balanced diet to keep your sugar levels under control. Doing so will not only help you prevent bleeding gums but also will help you prevent other complications of uncontrolled diabetes.
- If your gums have already started showing signs and symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with us and get it checked before it progresses to its severe forms.
- Have a balanced diet, add more fresh fruits and vegetables, and get the proper amount of vitamins and minerals. Having a balanced diet will also help you remain healthy and active.
- Lead an active lifestyle and keep some time to work out a little, especially if you have a sedentary job.
We have all heard the phrase that prevention is better than cure, and rightfully so! Bleeding gums, if left untreated, can have devastating complications, and you may end up losing your teeth. If you have any more questions or would like to know more about our dental services, please feel free to reach out to us. Our team of friendly and exceptional dental professionals will be there to assist you in your journey to more excellent oral health.
DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.