Why Are My Gums Bleeding? Causes & Reasons of Bleeding Gums

Is Bleeding Gum Common?

Healthy gums do not bleed.

When you have bleeding gums, you may notice the followings:

  • Your gums bleed randomly
  • Your gums bleed during brushing
  • Your gums bleed during flossing

Causes of Gum Bleeding

Bleeding gums can be attributed to two main causes: local and systemic.

  1. Local cause

Bleeding of gum is mainly due to inadequate plaque removal from the teeth at the gum line. The bacteria toxin in the plaque causes irritation to the gum resulting to inflammation and swelling of the gum called gingivitis. Gingivitis make the gums bleed easily during brushing or flossing.

If plaque is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, the gingivae will then detach from the teeth and form pockets which makes tooth brushing difficult and more plaque accumulation. Plaque that is not removed will harden into what is known as tartar/calculus.  This will lead to increased bleeding and as infection sets in, more advanced form of gum and jawbone disease known as periodontitis will ensue.

                                             

Periodontitis

Bleeding Gum

Bleeding of gum may also be due to brushing too hard, use of tooth brush with hard bristles or improper flossing causing gum injury.

2.  Systemic cause

Persistent gum bleeding may be due to hormonal changes or medical conditions.

  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy.
    • Many pregnant women find that their gums bleed easily during brushing because gums are more sensitive to plaque.The increased level of progesterone in pregnancy make exaggerate the body’s response to the toxins from plaque bacteria resulting a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.  In severe cases, a  pregnancy epulis may present with severe spontaneous bleeding. A pregnancy epulis often shrinks once the baby is born. If persists, it should be removed if it interferes with eating, brushing or flossing, or is unsightly,
  • Bleeding disorders such as leukemia, bleeding disorders and platelet disorders e.g idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
  • Scurvy.
    • Bleeding of gums is a sign and symptom of Vitamin C deficiency. It is reversible by Vitamin C supplements.
  • Use of blood thinners.
    • In some cases of heart or blood vessel disease, or poor blood flow to your brain, your doctor may prescribe a blood thinner.  By reducing the formation of blood clots in your arteries and veins, blood thinners reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. However, the dosage of blood thinners have to be monitored as it can result in bleeding.
  • Vitamin K deficiency.
    • It is rare to have a vitamin K deficiency because the bacteria in your intestine can produce it. Too much intake of antibiotics can kill these bacteria and lead to a mild deficiency, mostly in people with low levels to begin with.
    • Health problems that can prevent your body from absorbing vitamin K, such as gallbladder or biliary disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease
    • Liver disease

Bleeding Gum Treatment

When your gums bleed, you will have to ascertain whether it is local or systemic cause.

  • Brush and floss your teeth well to remove plaque effectively. Do not brush aggressively. Use a soft/medium bristled toothbrush.
  • Seek a dentist for further advice if it persists. You may need professional cleaning and advice on proper tooth brushing and flossing.
  • Your dentist may prescribe antimicrobial mouthwash if there is severe infection.

If bleeding persists, you have to get medical attention immediately. Spontaneous gum bleeding sometimes serves as an important signal that the body has serious medical condition.

 

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