Why are My Gums Bleeding?
Blood is the last thing you want to see in the sink while brushing your teeth, and yet it happens to all of us at one point or another. Oftentimes this is due to simple irritation caused by brushing or flossing too roughly; if this is the case, switching out your toothbrush for a soft-bristled brush and using it a little more gently may be all that’s required to get your gums back to normal.
In other cases, though, bleeding gums can be an early indicator of an underlying condition that may need evaluation and even treatment, so if making this simple change isn’t enough to solve the problem within a few days, it might be time to see your dentist or even your doctor.
Gum Disease and Bleeding Gums
One common cause of bleeding gums is gum disease, which is caused by bacteria-containing plaque and tartar that are not removed from one’s teeth and slowly infect the soft tissues of the gums. Beginning with the first stage, which is called gingivitis, gum disease can lead to tender, swollen gums that may bleed and even begin to recede from around the teeth.
If it is caught before advancing to the second stage of gum disease, periodontitis, gingivitis can be simply treated and reversed. Usually all that is required is a thorough cleaning of your teeth by your regular dental hygienist, who will remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth to stop the progression of the disease. After that point, all you have to do to keep gum disease at bay is to maintain good dental hygiene; problem solved!
If your dentist finds no evidence of gingivitis or injuries to the gums during an oral exam, you may want to consult with a doctor about other conditions that could cause your gums to bleed.
Other Conditions that Can Cause Gums to Bleed
As studies have demonstrated, there is a clear connection between our oral and overall health. Not only can poor dental hygiene negatively impact our overall health, leading to an increased risk of heart disease, infection, and stroke, some health conditions can have physical manifestations in the mouth. These include the following:
Certain vitamin deficiencies, such as a lack of Vitamins C and K, can have a negative impact on your body’s immune system and contribute to gums that either bleed more easily or heal more slowly from an injury. If you suspect you haven’t been getting a complete array of vitamins and minerals in your diet, you might consider a daily multivitamin to shore up your immune system.
Type 1 or 2 Diabetes
Because diabetics are more prone to infections and slower to heal from injuries, they may be more prone to gum disease and other oral conditions that can lead to bleeding gums. If you are living with diabetes and noticing that your gums are bleeding during or after brushing, you may wish to bring that to your doctor’s attention.
If you suffer a clotting disorder such as thrombocytopenia, hemophilia, or Von Willebrand disease, you may be more susceptible to gums that bleed simply because your blood does not clot properly; in this case, you should take care not to cause lacerations in your mouth or other parts of your body. If bleeding gums become frequent, you should alert your primary care provider so that they are aware of the issue.