What Causes Bleeding Gums?

Woman brushing her teeth in the morning

It is important to be aware of the effect that oral health can have on your entire body. Symptoms such as bad breath or inflammation are minor in comparison to the larger consequences of bad oral hygiene. In fact, patients with periodontal gum disease have a much bigger risk of contracting more serious illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. This is because the bleeding gums that come with inflammation can allow bacteria into the bloodstream, thereby spreading the infection to other areas. In order to prevent this spread of bacteria, it is important for patients to be aware of the different causes of bleeding gums so that treatment can be provided in a timely manner.

Table of Contents

What Causes Bleeding Gums?

Bleeding gums, known as gingival bleeding, can result from several factors. Poor oral hygiene, which leads to the buildup of plaque and tartar on teeth and along the gum line, is one major cause. The accumulation of plaque can aggravate and inflame the gums, leading to bleeding, especially while brushing or flossing. Gingival bleeding can also indicate gum disease, such as gingivitis or periodontitis, when bacteria infect the gum tissue. Other potential causes include hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy or menstruation), certain medications, vitamin deficiencies (particularly vitamin C deficiency, known as scurvy), and underlying medical conditions like leukemia or bleeding disorders. If you experience persistent or severe bleeding gums, it’s essential to consult with a dentist or healthcare professional to identify the root cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, is crucial to prevent bleeding gums. Additionally, addressing any underlying health conditions, like vitamin deficiencies, can help reduce the risk.

What Medications Can Cause Gums to Bleed?

There are certain medications you may be taking that can thin your blood and make your gums more prone to bleeding. These include birth control, aspirin, anti-inflammatories, and blood pressure medication, among others. If you are taking any of these medications, it is important to discuss this with your dentist, especially if you have periodontal gum disease.

Are My Gums Bleeding Because I'm Pregnant?

During pregnancy, a woman’s hormone levels can increase dramatically. This means that in addition to bleeding gums, there is a higher chance of developing periodontal gum disease, as well. If enough bacteria get into the bloodstream, it is possible that the body may release chemicals to stimulate a premature birth. Brushing and flossing regularly along with periodic checkups are extremely important during this time to minimize the chances of premature birth and low birth weight babies.

How Can Bleeding Gums Lead to Gum Disease?

If left untreated, periodontal gum disease can have more severe consequences than bad breath or sensitive gums. In addition to bone loss and gum recession, the occurrence of heart disease or pancreatic cancer is more likely. This is why it is important to look out for early symptoms such as bad breath or inflammation.

If your gums are bleeding, it is important to determine if this is due to gum disease or other factors. To learn more about treating periodontal gum disease contact your dentist and schedule a consultation.

Bleeding Gums FAQs

Gums can bleed for various reasons, but the most common cause is inadequate oral hygiene. When plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, builds up on teeth and gumlines due to infrequent brushing or improper flossing, it can lead to gum irritation and bleeding, often known as gingivitis. Other factors, such as aggressive brushing, hormonal changes (e.g., during pregnancy or menstruation), certain medications, or underlying health issues, can also contribute. If persistent or severe, it’s advisable to consult a dentist to determine the specific cause and receive appropriate guidance and treatment to maintain oral health.

Treating bleeding gums usually involves addressing the underlying cause. To start, improve your oral hygiene routine by brushing your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing daily, and using an antimicrobial mouthwash. Plaque and tartar accumulation can be eliminated with professional cleanings and routine dental exams. If gum disease is the problem, scaling and root planning may be advised by your dentist.

Address any vitamin deficiencies or medical conditions contributing to the bleeding. Finally, avoid tobacco products and maintain a healthy diet. Consulting a dentist is crucial for a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment plan.

You should see a dentist if you experience bleeding gums that persist for over a week, occur frequently, or are accompanied by other symptoms like pain, swelling, or bad breath. Additionally, suppose you have a family history of gum disease, smoke or use tobacco products, or have certain medical conditions that may affect your oral health.

In that case, seeking dental evaluation and guidance promptly is advisable. Early intervention can prevent more serious dental issues, so don’t delay seeking professional help if you’re concerned.