Brushing vigorously can cause gums to bleed. Often, we miss our usual flossing routine and when we pick it up after a few days, it can also cause gums to bleed. At the same time, gum disease may also be a common symptom of a serious health condition.
But before getting into the solutions, you need to understand what caused bleeding gums in the first place. Gums bleed when there is a significant plaque buildup. However, bleeding gums don’t always mean poor oral health conditions or weak teeth.
1. Common Reasons Why People Experience Gum Disease
Generally, oral health problems cause gums to bleed. These could be due to poor oral hygiene, and smoking. Sometimes, plaque stays on the gum line even after brushing.
This causes the development of tartar. Once tartar accumulates, it causes inflammation in the gums, known as gingivitis. This condition often leads to gum diseases. Gingivitis, if turned severe can lead to tooth loss.w
1.1 Brushing Habits
Your brushing technique can also be a reason for making gums sensitive. Brushing vigorously or using toothbrushes with hard bristles causes strain on gums and teeth, thereby causing bleeding. Dentists advise using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
1.2 Vitamin Deficiencies
Bleeding gums can be a symptom of certain vitamin deficiencies. Specifically, vitamin K and vitamin C. Vitamin K is necessary for the production of various clotting factors.
Vitamin C deficiency compromises the body’s ability to produce collagen. Without sufficient collagen, the gum tissues become fragile and susceptible to damage. Although quite uncommon, the deficiency of vitamin C also causes a severe form of bleeding gums, known as scurvy.
1.3 What Causes Bleeding Gums
1.3.1 Using Blood Thinning Medications –
People who use blood thinners often experience bleeding gums. Blood thinners are anticoagulants prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots.
Certain blood thinning medications are prescribed to people with blood clotting disorders. They cause bleeding gums because they interfere with the normal blood clotting process.
1.3.2 Pregnancy –
Pregnants often complain about experiencing bleeding gums. We all are aware of the hormonal changes during pregnancy. This can lead to an increased blood flow to the gum tissue, which makes it more prone to bleeding as it gets sensitive. This condition is known as pregnancy gingivitis.
1.3.3 Wearing Dentures Improperly –
People who wear dentures often complain about gum disease like swollen gums. This could be due to faulty dental restorations. The base of the dentures should have a proper seal with the gums to provide stability. The seal also prevents food particles from getting trapped underneath.
Dentures that aren’t a perfect fit, create unwanted pressure points on the gums leading to the formation of painful sores which eventually bleed out when irritated due to any external factor.
Often, cracked or damaged dentures can have rough edges that irritate the gum tissue, leading to bleeding and discomfort.
1.3.4 Leukaemia (In Extreme Cases) –
Leukaemia is a nasty blood cancer so bleeding gums may not be the least of your worries. It can cause severe effects on the normal production and function of blood cells, including platelets. And if the platelet count is hampered in any case, it results in excessive bleeding even with minor injuries due to its failure in blood clotting.
Also, treatment for leukaemia often involves chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which can further suppress the bone marrow’s ability to produce platelets.
2. How Lifestyle Impacts Bleeding Gums
Add this to the long list of problems that smoking causes. Surprise, surprise; cigarette smoking is a well-known cause of bleeding gums, and it significantly contributes to bleeding gums.
The harmful chemicals present in tobacco smoke impair blood flow to the gums, weakening the immune response. This also hinders the body’s ability to heal and fight infections. Consider quitting smoking, at least temporarily, to reduce bleeding gums.
Excessive alcohol consumption can cause bleeding gums too, just by leading to dehydration. When dehydration occurs, it interferes with saliva production. And saliva plays a role in washing out harmful bacteria.
But when saliva levels decrease, the mouth becomes more susceptible to bacterial overgrowth and develops gum disease.
Further, we are no strangers to the fact that chronic alcohol use weakens the immune system. And a weakened immune system means more bleeding disorders.
2.3 Mental Stress
Apart from all the physical reasons, chronic stress also affects the body’s immune response.
Mental stress makes a person ignore their oral health, among other major reactions. Adopting stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, exercise, and relaxation practices can positively influence gum health and reduce the risk of delicate gums.
By making conscious efforts to quit smoking, moderate alcohol intake, follow a balanced diet, and manage stress effectively, we can take proactive steps toward achieving healthy gums.
Regular dental check-ups and adopting proper oral hygiene practices further complement a healthy lifestyle in preserving gum health and preventing gum disease.
3. 6 Easy Ways to Stop Bleeding Gums at Home
Here are certain home-made techniques to try out as a short-term measure:
3.1 Rinse With Salt Water
This is undoubtedly the oldest trick in the book.
Bacteria and inflammation in the mouth cause gum disease. Regularly rinsing your mouth with a mixture of warm salt water eliminates bacteria and helps stop bleeding gums
3.2 Using an Electric Toothbrush
Many electric toothbrushes come with pressure sensors. Pressure sensors alert users when they are applying excessive force during brushing, which can be a common cause of receding gums.
They are also strategically designed to remove plaque at locations difficult to reach between the teeth.
3.3 Rinse your Mouth With Hydrogen Peroxide
1) Bacterial overgrowth often causes gums to bleed, hence we can use a mild antibacterial mouthwash such as hydrogen peroxide to get rid of them.
2) When hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with tissues, it releases oxygen. This bubbling action helps dislodge plaque and other debris from the tender gums.
However, it is important to use hydrogen peroxide with caution as it can irritate.
-To avoid irritation, dilute it to a 1.5% solution and completely rinse out after use.
-Do not use more than once a day, as mentioned, this is a short-term measure.
3.4 Reduce Carbohydrate Intake
Carbohydrates and sugary foods cause excess plaque buildup. Limiting the intake of carbohydrates may help prevent bleeding gums.
3.5 Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is a well-known ancient technique that involves swishing certain oils in the mouth. Coconut oil very famously has antibacterial properties.
3.6 Green Tea
Inflammation is the body’s response to the bacteria in the mouth. Green tea contains catechin, a natural antioxidant. Antioxidants prevent the inflammatory response.
4. Role of Nutrition in Bleeding Gums
Poor nutrition and poor diet heavily contribute to dental health issues.
4.1 Here are the Foods to Avoid During Gum Bleeding:
Minimise food that contains sugar and starch. Additionally, these contents should not be used as snacks. This is because you do not generally brush your teeth after snacking, and both sugar and starch are messy stickers for teeth and gums.
Foods that require vigorous chewing, such as nuts, chips, and raw vegetables like carrots and apples. These foods can aggravate the sensitive gum tissue and cause more bleeding.
Foods like caramel and chewy sweets can get stuck in between your teeth and gums, potentially increasing the risk of infection and causing swollen gums.
Spicy foods and acidic items like citrus fruits and tomatoes can also cause discomfort and irritation to the already inflamed gums.
4.2 Here are Foods to Prevent Gum Bleeding
Calcium counters the decay-causing acids in our mouths. Milk and other dairy products also help strengthen the enamel.
Ripe bananas and other soft fruits are easy to chew and won’t cause additional irritation to your gums. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals that further support the healing process.
5. When Should I See a Gum Specialist?
Gum bleeding may not necessarily be a reason to panic. Practising good oral health, following homemade remedies, and visiting the dentist regularly may prevent gum bleeding in the first place. However, in some cases, it is essential to visit a healthcare professional.
– If bleeding persists for a week or more
– If multiple other symptoms appear simultaneously. This could indicate that the bleeding is a cause of a much more serious medical condition, and the underlying condition needs to be dealt with immediately. For example, persistent bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth may be indicative of an underlying dental problem that needs attention.
Gum bleeding is a common household occurrence but must not be neglected! Good oral hygiene saves plenty of time and effort considering the fiasco of visiting a dentist.
We all remember the dread and horror before our first serious dentist visit. Regular brushing, flossing, and practising hygienic practices help prevent this. Of course, an occasional dentist visit, preferably once every six months, is imperative.
Perhaps the point of maintaining good oral hygiene is to make these visits less painful. Or perhaps it is to help our dentists not lose their sanity.
Either way, practising healthy oral practices is necessary. Further, lifestyle choices also play a crucial role in preventing gum disease.