1) What are the causes for bleeding gums?
1. Long standing information for gums: Poor maintenance of the teeth, such as inadequate brushing or failure to rinse the mouth after meals results in a thin layer of food and bacteria covering the tooth surface. This bacterium is the chief culprit behind the inflammation. The gums during the stage of infection become soft, spongy and swollen. Trauma to the gums by hard brushing or tooth picking with sharp objects result in gingival bleeding.
2. Bleeding can also be due to injury of the gums by any sharp food item e.g., fish bone.
3. Hot food and chemicals can end up burning the gums, further resulting in bleeding. For e.g. Some people still follow the practice of placing pain relieving tablets on the gum adjacent to the painful tooth, which invariably causes burns.
4. Certain rapidly spreading infections can damage the blood vessels of the gums resulting in bleeding. One such disease is ANUG.
5. Deficiency of Vitamin C causes problems with the blood vessels, hence causing bleeding in the gums. Ancient sailors were known to suffer from this problem until some one came up with the bright idea of stocking the ships with oranges during travel. As we know oranges are a rich source of Vitamin C.
6. Certain general illness of the body can also precipitate gingival bleeding. They are the following.
a. Allergic reaction.
b. Increase in number of cells called platelets. These are
cells, which join together to form a plate that blocks the
bleeding from an injured vessel.
c. Failure in Blood clotting mechanism due to deficiency of a
few important components.
d. Cancerous condition called leukemia.
e. Certain drugs such as aspirin and anti-coagulants, which prevent the normal clotting mechanism of the blood.
2) How does the condition present itself?
Bleeding of the gums may occur with or without associated pain .The pain if present is usually dull in nature.
Bleeding is usually noticed during brushing, or in the saliva,while spitting.
Eating of any coarse food items may induce bleeding.
How it is diagnosed?
The dentist, using an instrument called probe, diagnoses this condition. This instrument is a sharp thin metal which , when passed along the margin between the tooth and the gum causes spontaneous bleeding. Blood tests taken show any problems with the clotting mechanism, if present.
4) How are bleeding gums treated?
If long standing inflammation is the cause of bleeding then removal of the source of bacteria will result in improvement of the situation. If the source is mild to moderate in collection. Proper maintenance of the teeth by the patient is more than sufficient. If the source is moderate to severe in collection then professional help is required. Serious systemic problems might have to be treated to correct bleeding from these diseases.
5) Is bleeding of the gum a serious problem?
Yes, bleeding gums is a serious problem. It is either indicating the beginning of the destructive process involving the supporting tissue around the tooth or some serious underlying systemic problems, which could be fatal.
6) Is there any medication for bleeding gums?
Liquid solutions are available across the counter, which can be self administered by patient. When applied over the gums it either stops or reduces bleeding. But long lasting result s are obtained only by treating the cause.