When are Bleeding Gums a Medical Problem?

When are Bleeding Gums a Medical Problem?

It’s never wise to ignore bleeding gums. While it may seem easy to blame the condition on aggressive flossing or brushing, bleeding gums can signify several oral and physical conditions. You may be jeopardizing the health of your gums, teeth, and entire body if you ignore bleeding gums. 

If you’re living with bleeding gums, it’s crucial to consult with a dental professional for a dental cleaning and examination. George Kontoveros, DMD, and Anthony Klobas, DMD, of 2K Dental, provide comprehensive dental services, including diagnosing and treating gum disease. 

The team at 2K Dental has the expertise necessary to evaluate your condition and determine the steps necessary to restore your bleeding gums to good health. As appropriate, our dental professionals also refer you to medical professionals when your condition indicates a need for a medical evaluation. 

The good news is that bleeding gums can be reversed with appropriate treatment. Find out more about bleeding gums and the types of problems it can indicate. 

Gum disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, ranks as the most common cause of bleeding gums. In the U.S., almost half of adults over age 30 have an advanced form of gum disease, a condition that typically exists without notice until it causes visible changes in your mouth. 

Gum disease occurs when bacteria and food debris collect on the surface of your teeth to form dental plaque, a sticky substance that adheres to your teeth. When plaque accumulates on your teeth and remains, it hardens and thickens to form into tartar. Tartar causes swollen, red gums that bleed. 

Twice-daily brushing and professional dental cleanings are the best way to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. If you’re diagnosed with gum disease, you may need a procedure called scaling and root planing, an extensive cleaning treatment that involves the removal of tartar from your teeth and under the gumline. 

Improper brushing

While regular dental hygiene can help prevent gum disease, it may also result in bleeding gums if you brush too aggressively. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a more gentle technique may help resolve the condition. 

Physical conditions

Bleeding gums are associated with several potentially serious medical problems. While dental cleaning and treatment can reduce symptoms, a medical evaluation may be necessary to identify the underlying causes of your bleeding gums if they aren’t associated with an oral condition.

Diabetes

Bleeding gums can be a symptom of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Having this disease weakens your mouth’s ability to fight germs, so you’re more vulnerable to infections like gum disease. The elevated blood sugar levels associated with diabetes make it more difficult for your body to heal, which can aggravate gum disease. 

Low platelet count

Bleeding gums can indicate the presence of leukemia. With this type of cancer, your blood platelet counts decrease. Since the job of blood platelets is to help your body stop bleeding, low platelet levels can make it more difficult to control bleeding in your gums and other parts of your body. 

Other physical conditions such as thrombocytopenia, hemophilia, and Von Willebrand disease can interfere with your body’s ability to clot blood normally and control bleeding gums.  

Vitamin deficiencies

Bleeding gums may be a sign of insufficient levels of vitamin C, or K. vitamin C promotes tissue growth and repair. It also heals wounds and strengthens teeth and bones. 

Vitamin K promotes proper blood clotting. It also supports healthy bones. Insufficient vitamin K reduces your body’s ability to clot blood properly. 

Pregnancy

Up to 75% of pregnant women experience red and swollen gums that bleed during brushing and flossing. 

Bleeding gums during pregnancy are often linked to high levels of progesterone and estrogen that increase blood flow to your mucous membranes. The change can raise plaque bacteria sensitivity, resulting in bleeding. 

Other common issues associated with pregnancy, including vomiting associated with morning sickness and the reduction in your mouth’s saliva production, are related to bleeding gums. These changes allow bacteria to remain in your mouth longer, making it easier for bacteria to accumulate and form plaque, leading to gum disease. 

If you’re experiencing bleeding gums, it can signify that something is wrong. Schedule a comprehensive dental exam to determine the source of the problem and resolve the issue. Call our office in Parma, Akron, or Cleveland, Ohio, today to arrange a consultation. 

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