Bleeding gums can cause a lot of discomfort – both physically and mentally. I have compiled a list of eight possible causes for gums to bleed.
Brushing or flossing too vigorously – The rough mechanical action of brushing or flossing too vigorously may damage and irritate the sensitive oral tissues which may cause gums to bleed. If the bleeding continues for a few days then it is important to visit a dentist immediately. However, bleeding gums are often an indication of gum disease. Brushing and flossing hard enough to make healthy gum tissue bleed is fairly rare.
Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and bleeding of the gums. If plaque is allowed to build up below the gum line and irritates the gums, then you have what is known as gum disease or periodontal disease. If not treated, the gum disease can advance and even cause tooth loss.
Smoking or chewing tobacco – Smokers often have more tartar on their teeth than non-smokers. This plus the toxic effects of the tobacco on the tissue itself makes smokers more likely to develop gum disease.
Hormones – Gum tissue contains hormone receptors. High levels of certain hormones can cause an increase of fluids in the gingiva(gum tissue), which makes the gums red, tender and swollen. The symptoms disappear when the hormone levels return to normal.
Vitamin K deficiency – Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting and a Vitamin K deficiency can lead to bleeding gums.
Autoimmune disorders – Autoimmune disorders are conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks its own cells causing tissue destruction. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis are a few auto immune diseases which can lead to bleeding gums.
Leukemia – Leukemia is a cancer of bone marrow and blood cells, usually the white blood cells. People affected with Leukemia bleed easily and one of the symptoms is bleeding gums.
Over the counter medications – Some oral contraceptives, antidepressants, nasal sprays and anticoagulants may cause bleeding gums. Always talk to a doctor before purchasing any kind of over the counter medication.
More often than naught, bleeding gums are associated with some form of gum disease. If your gums bleed, you should go to a periodontist or a medical doctor immediately for advice, diagnosis and treatment. Do not attempt to self diagnose when it comes to bleeding gums or any other health problem. This article is for information purposes only and does not intend to render medical or dental advice.
Scott Wells’ interests include improving and maintaining dental health. He believes that the health of the mouth reflects the health of the body. For people wishing to improve dental health, Scott suggests the book, What You Should Know about Gum Disease – A Layman’s Guide to Fighting Gum Disease as his favorite resource. ISBN: 978-0-9814855-0-8. Available at : http://gingivitiskiller.com