What Causes Bleeding Gums?

Bleeding gums are a perplexing but common source of consternation; at one time or another, virtually everyone experiences this problem. While a little pink in the sink isn’t necessarily cause for major concern, especially if it passes within a day or two, prolonged cases of bleeding gums should be evaluated by your dentist or, if no apparent issues are uncovered during oral examination, your primary care provider.

Causes for Bleeding Gums from a Dental Perspective

If you experience bleeding from your gums for longer than three days in a row, it’s best to make an appointment to visit your dentist. She or he will perform a quick oral examination that will check for cuts or other injuries to the gums as well as cavities, abscesses, or plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth that could be contributing to an incipient infection of the gum tissue.

While it might seem strange to check your teeth for a problem with your gums, the fact is that gum disease is caused by an accumulation of bacteria-harboring detritus on your teeth that is not quickly enough removed. In the absence of effective brushing and flossing, usually compounded by missed visits to the dentists’ office, this detritus can cause the gums themselves to become diseased in a three-stage process that can end in tooth and even bone loss.

If it is determined that the first stage of gum disease known as gingivitis is causing your bleeding gums, your dentist will prescribe a thorough cleaning by one of the dental hygienists in their office. This will not only help your gums begin to heal, but it can effectively reverse the beginnings of gum disease.

If your dentist doesn’t see any signs or symptoms of gum disease or other oral ailments, they will likely ask you about your brushing practices; what kind of toothbrush you use, and how much pressure you apply when brushing. In some cases, people simply use overly firm bristled toothbrushes and/or brush too hard; a couple very simple changes in the toothbrushing department might be all you need to get your gums back on track.

Causes for Bleeding Gums from a Medical Perspective

Less commonly, bleeding gums that persist can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, including vitamin deficiencies (Vitamins C and K, specifically), Type 1 or 2 diabetes, leukemia, or a blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia.

Before convincing yourself that your bleeding gums are a sign of cancer, please note that these are the least common causes of bleeding gums and that bleeding gums are not the only sign or symptom; if your bleeding gums are in fact caused by one of these conditions, it is probable that you are already aware of the condition and should simply take note of the fact that this particular symptom is currently manifesting so that you can share this information with your primary care provider. If you have concerns about any medical conditions that could be contributing to this issue, make an appointment to discuss it with your doctor after checking in with your dentist.

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