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Why do my gums bleed?

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

The main cause of bleeding gums is plaque build up along the gum lines which will lead to gingivitis or gum inflammation. If plaque is not removed, it will harden into tartar. Untreated gingivitis overtime will lead to a more advanced form of gum and jaw bone disease known as periodontitis. Chronic bleeding of the gums can be a sign of a serious medical condition and you may have to contact your family doctor.

Other causes of bleeding gums include:

  • Bleeding disorders

  • Brushing too hard

  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menstrual cycles

  • Ill-fitting dentures or other dental appliances

  • Improper flossing

  • Tooth infection

  • Leukemia, a type of blood cancer

  • Scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency

  • Use of blood thinners

  • Vitamin K deficiency

Home Care A dental visit every 6 months for plaque removal and early detection of gum disease will prevent many long term problems. If you have chronic or unstable gum disease, your dentist many recommend professional cleanings more often (every 3-4 months)

Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush and floss twice a day. A balanced diet by avoiding snacks between meals and cutting down on your sugar intake can prevent gum disease and tooth caries.

Tips to help with bleeding gums:

  • Have a periodontal exam.

  • Avoid smoking. Tobacco can mask problems that cause bleeding of the gums.

  • If you have been diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency, take vitamin supplements.

  • Avoid aspirin unless your health care provider has recommended that you take it.

  • Some medication may cause gum bleeding, ask your doctor to prescribe an alternative drug if possible.

  • If your dentures or other appliances do not fit well and are causing sore spots on your gums, see your dentist for adjustments.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums and take x-rays of your teeth and underlying bone. Your dentist will also ask about your oral care habits and show you the correct brushing technique. Your dentist may also review your dietary habits and your medication list.



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