Bleeding gums are a common oral health problem that can affect anyone. They can be a sign of gum disease, but they can also indicate other health conditions or factors. Here are a few reasons why your gums may bleed.
There are many possible causes of bleeding gums, but the most common one is gum disease. Gum disease is a gingival infection and inflammation caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on oral surfaces. If plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar, which irritates the gums and makes them bleed.
Gum disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, which affects only the gums. It causes redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums, especially when brushing or flossing. Gingivitis can be reversed with good oral hygiene and professional dental cleaning.
Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease, which affects the tissues and bones that support the teeth. It causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that get infected by bacteria. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, and other serious complications. Additionally, it requires more intensive treatment, such as scaling and root planing, antibiotics, or surgery.
Other possible causes of bleeding gums may be associated with your overall health. Some medical conditions that cause bleeding gums include:
- Hormone changes. Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can affect your gums and make them more sensitive and susceptible to bleeding easily.
- Vitamin deficiencies. A lack of vitamin C or vitamin K can impair your gum health and blood clotting ability, which can result in bleeding gums.
- Medications. Some medications, such as blood thinners or anticoagulants, can affect your blood clotting and make your gums bleed more.
- Blood disorders. Some blood disorders, such as thrombocytopenia, hemophilia, or von Willebrand disease, can cause low platelet count or impaired clotting factor, which can lead to excessive bleeding from your gums or other parts of your body.
- Diabetes. Diabetes can affect your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections and inflammation in your mouth, which can cause bleeding gums.
- Leukemia. Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects your blood cells. It can cause low platelet count or abnormal clotting factor, which can result in bleeding gums or other symptoms.
If your gums have been bleeding, schedule a consultation with a family dentist in your local area.