It happens to most of the adult population in the U.S. – bleeding gums. Most commonly, gums bleed during maintenance, like brushing or flossing. Sometimes, they will also bleed while eating certain foods, like popcorn or corn on the cob. The sight of blood originating from your gums can be disturbing, to say the least, but understanding the root cause of this condition will allow you to better treat and prevent it. Here are some common causes and methods of prevention to help you better care for your gums.
Common Causes of Bleeding Gums
There are a number of different factors which can play a role in bleeding gums, one of which is the presence of plaque build-ups at or around the gum line. Also known as gingivitis, this condition is characterized by bacteria which accumulate and thrive around the gums; thus, causing an inflammatory response by the body’s immune system. Unless this plaque is removed, it will harden to form tough tartar, which subsequently leads to further bleeding.
Bleeding gums could be a sign of the jawbone disease known as periodontitis, which is different from gingivitis. Periodontitis is a more severe condition in which bacteria makes its way up the side of the teeth to the gum line. Once there, the bacteria can destroy portions of the jawbone, increasing the risk of tooth decay and tooth loss.
While teeth brushing is an integral part in oral care, and we strongly recommend brushing at least twice a day, it’s not an effective means to remove build ups of hardened plaque and tartar. This is why it’s important for individuals to visit a licensed dentist once every 6 months for a routine cleaning and checkup. This is especially important for people suffering from bleeding gums. Eliminating plaque and tartar buildup will reduce the risk of oral diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. Regular cleanings keep your teeth looking great and maintain healthy gums.
Certain types of nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin C and K deficiency, may also contribute to bleeding gums. If you are suffering from frequent bleeding gums, ask your general practitioner to test your blood for levels of these vitamins. If you are low in vitamin C, add more citrus fruits like oranges into your diet. If you are low in vitamin K, try consuming more leafy green vegetables like kale and baby spinach.
It’s a little-known fact that pregnancy can play a role in bleeding gums. Pregnant women experience hormonal and chemical changes, some of which may encourage bleeding of the gums. This typically goes away within a couple of months after giving birth, however.
Tips For Preventing Bleeding Gums
- Use a soft bristled toothbrush to care for your teeth – and remember to brush twice a day!
- Use an ADA-approved mouth rinse.
- Avoid the use of tobacco products, including cigarettes.
- If you are deficient in certain types of nutrients, increasing the use of multivitamins can help improve the outcome of your bleeding gums. Make sure your supplements include vitamin C and K, or simply improve your diet with foods rich in these nutrients such as citrus fruits for vitamin C and leafy green vegetables for vitamin K.
- Unless recommended by your doctor, avoid the use of aspirin, ibuprofen or similar blood-thinning drugs.
Contact your local dental professionals here at Eagle Rock Dental Care if you have problems with bleeding gums or if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled and compassionate dentists in either Rexburg, Idaho Falls, or Arco.