As one of the most common dental issues out there, bleeding gums can be concerning for those who haven’t experienced them before. Bleeding gums can be caused by a number of different factors, from basic brushing habits to significant health or nutrition concerns, and it’s hard to know at first glance what the underlying reason for your bleeding is.
At the dental offices of John D. Stark, DDS, our general dentistry services include helping you assess the causes of your bleeding gums and work on solutions. During this process, it’s important to note some of the root explanations for your bleeding, as these may signal changes you need to make in your dental routine or even your overall health. Here are some of the common causes of bleeding gums.
Medically termed gingivitis, plaque buildup due to bacteria forming around the gums can cause bleeding in the gyms through an inflammatory response produced by the body’s immune system. Over time, if this plaque isn’t properly removed, it will harden and become tartar, which can cause bleeding even more easily.
Another common oral condition is periodontitis, which is more severe than gingivitis. Periodontitis is a jawbone disease where bacteria progresses up the gum line, then actually destroys parts of the jawbone itself. Periodontitis can lead to significant risks of tooth decay and tooth loss if not addressed.
The teeth and gums are very sensitive areas of the body, and if you make big changes to the way you care for them, some bleeding could be a temporary result. Some people see small amounts of blood when brushing with a new toothbrush, for instance, based on new bristles that are rougher on the gums. In these limited cases, bleeding is a temporary concern that you won’t have to worry much about. If it persists for a longer period, call your dentist.
Certain new medications might lead to increasing gum bleeding, blood thinners chief among them. This may also happen with anticonvulsants, blood pressure meds, and even certain immune-suppressants you might take.
In certain cases, lowered saliva quantity can cause gum bleeding – and this can also be brought on by certain medications. Antihistamines, sedatives, anti-psychotics and anti-depressants all may have this effect on some people.
If your diet is too short on vitamins C or K, this can lead to bleeding gums. A general practitioner can test blood levels for these vitamins. If you’re low on vitamin C, add more citrus fruits to the diet. For a vitamin K deficiency, look to leafy green vegetables more often.
Pregnant women may be more susceptible to bleeding gums due to hormone fluctuations during this period. Within a couple months of giving birth, these issues have usually subsided.
In rare cases, bleeding gums may be a sign of a more significant health issue in the body. Leukemia, for instance, causes excessive bleeding in several areas of the body. Another blood clotting condition called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura may also be possible.
For more on what your bleeding gums are telling you, or to learn about any of the services we provide at our dental clinic, speak to the staff at the offices of John D. Stark, DDS today.