Bleeding gums are unattractive, but more importantly, they may be a symptom for more serious health issues. If your gums bleed during regular brushing or flossing (even if you are a vigorous brusher), you should consult an oral health professional.
Milder Periodontal Gum Disease: Gingivitis
Often an indicator for some degree of periodontal disease, bleeding gums may be the result of an inflammation of gum tissue, like gingivitis. Periodontal disease can begin when plaque that sits on or below the gum line fails to be removed and accumulates. As such plaque hardens into tartar, gums swell and get inflamed. This leads to infections, and bleeding gums is the most common symptom.
In its mild form (gingivitis, gum disease responds well to treatment. However, it is a progressive disease. As the condition of the gums deteriorate, treatments also become more serious and invasive.
Severe Periodontal Gum Disease
If plaque and tartar buildup continues unchecked, the result will likely be increasingly serious gum inflammation, which may eventually lead to a separation—with the gums actually leaving the teeth. If this happens, deep pockets will develop between gums and teeth, creating the perfect destination for food particles. As food collects in these pockets, they will rot and generate infections, seriously damaging teeth and bone. Severe Periodontitis may even cause tooth and/or bone loss, which may require dental implants to address. If periodontal gum disease is not the cause of bleeding gums, there are several other possible causes.
Vitamin C or K Deficiency
Vitamin deficiencies can lead to gums bleeding. Scurvy, once the scourge of sailors, is caused by Vitamin C deficiency, one of whose symptoms can be painful swelling and bleeding gums. Vitamin K deficiency is also closely related to bleeding disorders, as the deficiency can prevent proper blood clotting. With Vitamin K deficiency, a person is prone to bleeding from any part of his/her body.
Aspirin may act as a blood thinner, leading to bleeding gums. Also, prolonged use of medications, such as various antibiotics, may cause gums to bleed. By killing intestinal microflora in our bodies, antibiotics may cause Vitamin K deficiency, preventing proper blood clotting.
A bleeding disorder may also mean that a person’s blood is thin and unable to clot properly. Two severe bleeding disorders are Thrombocytopenic Purpura and Von Willebrand’s Disease, which often first manifest in the gums.
This list should encourage you to take bleeding gums seriously and to consult your Bala Cynwyd oral surgeon or another oral health professional as soon as possible.
Charlottesville Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center
Dr. J’s Southwest Dental Group in El Centro and Shadow Hills