Although mild gingival bleeding during your daily oral hygiene routine is not considered abnormal, heavy bleeding from your gums or bleeding that is difficult to control may indicate either an oral problem or a medical problem. Here are some causes of bleeding gums and some treatment options to consider.
Bleeding Gum Causes
The most common reason for bleeding gums is gum disease. When plaque is not quickly removed from the teeth and under the gum line, it gets hard and forms tartar. Tartar is not easily removed by brushing and flossing alone. If it’s not removed by your dentist or hygienist, the tartar buildup can trigger an inflammatory response in the gum tissue. When this happens, the gums may bleed during brushing and flossing.
Medication side effects can also trigger bleeding episodes of your gum tissue. Certain medications such as prescription anticoagulants and aspirin can affect the way your blood clots. They decrease the aggregation (stickiness) of the blood platelets. When this happens, you may not only develop bleeding gums but may also experience nosebleeds, blood in your urine, and excessive bleeding if you cut your finger.
Bleeding gums may also be the result of a medical disorder such as thrombocytopenia which refers to a lower-than-normal platelet count. Anemia can also cause bleeding gums, however, other signs and symptoms often accompany it. These include pallor, shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, and pale mucous membranes.
Effective Treatments For Bleeding Gums
Most cases of bleeding gums can be treated simply by brushing and flossing more often and more carefully. If your gums are bleeding as a result of your medications, talk to your primary care physician. Lowering the dosage may minimize the bleeding, however, never stop taking your prescription medications unless your physician approves.
Finally, if you have symptoms of anemia or a blood platelet disorder such as excessive fatigue, abnormal bruising, pallor, dizziness, or abnormal bleeding, make an appointment with your primary care doctor. A blood test known as a complete blood count can help identify blood disorders so that your healthcare provider can recommend a treatment plan.
If you experience bleeding gums, make an appointment with your dentist. After they have completed their oral examination, they will recommend a plan of care based on their findings. Regardless of the cause, it is important to visit your dentist regularly for examinations and dental cleanings to help keep your teeth and gums healthy.