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Gum Bleeding: Causes, Consequences and Prevention Strategies

October 24, 2023 4 min read

Gum bleeding, also known as gingival bleeding, is a common oral health issue that often ranges from mild to severe, and it indicates an underlying dental problem like gum disease. Interestingly, gum disease, especially severe cases like periodontitis, affects over 1 billion people worldwideover 19% of the world's adult population. What does this mean? If your gums are bleeding, you are not alone.

This guide discusses everything you need to know about the causes of gum bleeding, its consequences, and how to prevent gum disease.

 

Cause of Gum Bleeding

50% of adults experience bleeding gum at one point in their life due to gum disease. It means that gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontal diseases are one of the major causes of bleeding gums.


Gum diseases are often the result of plaque buildup – a sticky layer of bacteria that forms on the gum line and releases toxins that cause the gums to redden, become tender, and break easily. When left untreated, your symptoms may advance, leading to periodontal disease – a gum disease where the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth, leaving gaps that can become infected.


Most people don't realize that gum disease only surfaces when they fail to care for their oral health. Failing to brush and floss regularly using a traditional or water flosser allows plaque to accumulate on the teeth and gums, which builds up over time, causing inflammation, bleeding, and gum disease. That’s not all! While maintaining good oral hygiene may be a top priority for many people, some people floss and brush forcefully with hard-bristle toothbrushes and end up bleeding because they damage their delicate gum tissues in the process.
Other reasons your gum may bleed include:

  • Using medications like anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs interferes with the blood’s ability to clot properly.
  • Medical conditions like hemophilia and von Willebrand disease, diabetes, leukemia, and HIV infection
  • Hormonal fluctuations, especially during pregnancy, menstruation and menopause
  • Lack of essential vitamins, like vitamins C and K
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Dentures, braces, or other dental appliances that do not fit properly
  • Chronic stress
  • Consuming excess sugar

 

Consequences of A Bleeding Gum

 

You may think that bleeding gum will only last for a short time, but it may progress and cause significant challenges beyond your oral health. Some of them include:


1. You May Lose Your Teeth
When gum bleeding progresses to periodontitis, it will cause the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gum tissue and bone, to damage. With time, you may notice your teeth becoming loose and fall off.


2. It may Affect Your Heart and Cardiovascular Organs
A recent study published in the National Library of Medicine suggests that bacteria associated with gum disease can enter the bloodstream through bleeding gums and harm your cardiovascular health. Once in the bloodstream, these bacteria can irritate the blood vessels, causing them to be inflamed and increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.


3. Controlling Your Blood Sugar Levels May be Difficult
If you have diabetes, you may lose control over your blood sugar levels due to gum bleeding. This means you become more prone to gingivitis, especially when you eat more carbs. The result is that the sugar from the carb intake goes directly into your bloodstream and impairs your body's ability to fight infections, potentially exacerbating gum disease. On the other hand, you indirectly create a concerning cycle where your diabetes and gum disease worsens.


4. Higher Risk of Premature Childbirth
If you are pregnant and experience bleeding gums, your odds of delivering prematurely or having low birth weight babies may be higher. Research suggests that the bacteria responsible for gum inflammation and bleeding can enter the bloodstream and affect the developing fetus, thereby resulting in preterm labor and babies with low birth weight (PLBW).


5. It Affects the Appearance of Your Smile
A physical effect of gum bleeding is receding gum, exposed teeth roots, and uneven gumline. More than this, your teeth and gum tissue may become discolored. It can negatively impact your facial features, especially your smile. Instead of the healthy pink appearance your gums should have normally, they will appear red and swollen. Additionally, your teeth may lose alignment, causing your tooth structure to become more exposed. In the end, these effects will alter the overall shape and appearance of your face.

 

How to Prevent Gum Disease

If you notice signs of gum diseases like gum bleeding, the good news is that various habits can help you maintain your gum health. The most important and first step is to brush your teeth daily using fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly to remove plaque and food particles between teeth. Add an antiseptic mouthwash to your routine to strengthen care for your teeth and fight tooth decay. Also, don’t skip your regular dental check-ups since it helps you detect early signs of gum disease.


Adopting a balanced diet and limiting sugar intake can also improve your gum health, especially if you have diabetes. Lastly, avoid smoking or using tobacco products to avoid gum diseases. Still, preventing gum disease involves consistent oral hygiene practices and a healthy lifestyle. If you are concerned about your gum health but do not take preventive measures against gum diseases even with the symptoms evident, you only further exacerbate your situation than lessen it.