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Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums is an indication that you are having or are at a risk of developing gum disease. Bleeding gums can also be accompanied by other symptoms of poor oral health like halitosis or bad breath, receding gums and toothache. Bleeding from the gums is commonly a result of poor dental hygiene where the plaque is inadequately removed from the teeth and gum line. This can lead to inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis; a common symptom of gingivitis is swollen, red and bleeding gums. If gingivitis is ignored, the gradual accumulation of plaque will harden to form a tartar which can ultimately lead to increased bleeding and more advanced stage of gum disease called periodontitis.

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If the gum bleeding is persistent then it can also be due to some serious medical disorders like leukemia, platelet disorders and other bleeding disorders. Bleeding gums can also be a symptom for canker sores, especially when they become irritated. Other common causes of bleeding gums include improper flossing, toothbrush abrasion, vitamin C deficiency (scurvy), vitamin K deficiency, hormonal changes during pregnancy, chemical irritants like aspirin, anticoagulants such as heparin and warfarin, placement of new dentures or braces and idiopathic thrombocytopenia.

Bleeding Gums Treatment

  • To avoid bleeding gums and maintain adequate oral hygiene brush your teeth twice daily. Make sure to clean your mouth after eating even a small piece of food to avoid bacterial multiplication. Brushing should be done preferably with a soft-bristle brush with 45 degree angle in such a way that half brush cleans the teeth and other half takes care of the gum line to remove plaque.
  • Flossing twice daily can also help to keep the bleeding problems at bay. If there is already buildups of excess plaque or tarter then visit a dentist to remove that and clean your teeth.
  • Your dentist may also suggest rinsing your mouth with warm salt water or hydrogen peroxide and water to prevent bleeding. Alcohol containing commercially available mouthwashes can sometimes aggravate bleeding problem, avoid using those.
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet to avoid plaque formation; between-meal snacks should be avoided and simple carbohydrate intake should be reduced to prevent plaque buildup.
  • Conditions which aggravate the bleeding problem should be avoided like chewing tobacco or smoking.
  • Apply pressure directly on the bleeding gum with the help of a gauze pad soaked in ice water. Ice water will help to desensitize the nerve endings in the gum line and provide symptomatic relief.
  • If any vitamin deficiency has been diagnosed then start supplements under a specialist’s supervision.
  • If a receding gum is due to a side effect of certain medication then consult a specialist to change the medication.

If gums continue to bleed even after treatment or if the bleeding is severe, constant or chronic with other unexplained symptoms then consult a specialist.

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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