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Why Do My Gums Bleed? Common Causes Behind Bleeding Gum Issues

A man flossing his teeth and wondering why his gums are bleeding.

One common question we hear from patients all the time is “why do my gums bleed?” Fortunately, it’s usually not difficult to discern the base cause of bleeding gums. However, there are plenty of factors that can exacerbate the source of your bleeding gums or make you vulnerable to bacteria.

Why Your Gums Are Bleeding

If you’re constantly asking yourself “why do my gums bleed” then you likely have gum disease. Also known as gingivitis, gum disease is a result of plaque being left on your gums for long periods of time. In an attempt to fight against the bacteria, your gums become inflamed which leaves them sensitive.

Early forms of gingivitis aren’t a severe risk. If you or your dentist identify the symptoms of gum disease early on, you can often resolve the problem by improving your brushing and flossing. When treated early, gingivitis won’t have any significant lasting effects.

If you notice that your gums are bleeding and don’t take steps to reduce plaque and debris on your gums, gingivitis can advance into more serious periodontal disease. It’s important to recognize that when your gums bleed regularly, you need to take steps to improve your oral health!

Could There Be Another Reason Why My Gums Are Bleeding?

Basic gingivitis is the most common answer to anyone asking, “why do my gums bleed?” However, it’s not the only reason you may be prone to bleeding gums. Here are some other causes or instigating factors that can increase your chance of bleeding gums or gingivitis:

Smoking

In addition to the direct health risks of smoking, it exacerbates other health issues in your body. With regards to dental health, smoking leaves your gums vulnerable to bacteria and make gingivitis easier to develop. Likewise, it can make the transition from early gum disease to serious periodontal disease happen more quickly, causing bleeding gums to turn into lost teeth!

Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, your hormones spike and increase blood flow to your tissue, including your gums. During this time, your gums will be swollen and extremely sensitive. Brushing and flossing is likely to cause bleeding.

Pregnancy gingivitis, as it’s called, typically starts around the second month of pregnancy and can last until the final month. Following the pregnancy, your increased gum sensitivity should decrease.

Vitamin Deficiencies

Certain vitamins can help reduce your chances of bleeding gums. If you’re lacking these vitamins in your diet, it could be part of why your gums are vulnerable:

Vitamin C – This vitamin bolsters your immune system, which helps fight against infection and bacteria.

Vitamin K – If you’re deficient in vitamin K, your blood may not clot as well as it should, which makes it easier for your gum tissue to bleed.

Vitamin deficiencies are hard to identify without tests. Fortunately, you can often make minor adjustments to your diet to ensure you’re getting enough of these vitamins. For instance, eating more oranges, carrots or red peppers can help with vitamin C. Green vegetables like kale or spinach will provide you with more vitamin K.

Medication

Many patients who come to us asking, “why do my gums bleed” experience their issue due to medications they’re taking. Medication that thins your blood (anticoagulants) won’t cause your gums to bleed spontaneously but can make brushing or flossing more likely to lead to bleeding.

Some of these medications are prescribed. If you’re taking prescription medications, speak with your doctor about the possibility that they may be leading to bleeding gums. However, over-the-counter drugs like aspirin can also exacerbate gum sensitivity. Be careful when taking them frequently, as overuse of aspirin can cause other health issues in your body!

Are Bleeding Gums Dangerous?

The answer to this question is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.” On the surface, bleeding gums don’t pose a major risk on their own. Many people will experience light bleeding from their gums after flossing or brushing at some point in their life.

However, the real risk of bleeding gums is the underlying causes that lead to the symptom. Advancing gum disease, smoking or diseases that leave your mouth vulnerable to bacteria can have a lasting effect on your health. If you ignore symptoms like bleeding gums, you will eventually reach a point where your gum recedes, leaving pockets for bacteria to thrive. Over time, you may begin to lose your teeth which leads to several other health issues.

In general, bleeding gums themselves aren’t a threat – but they should set off alarm bells! Gum disease is easily treatable but only if you take steps to remedy the cause. Work towards a better brushing and flossing habit, and make sure to visit your dentist for a check-up!

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Do You Have Dental Health Questions? Schedule an Appointment!

We can help make sure you and your family are brushing correctly. If you’re concerned or just looking for information, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.

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