Bleeding gums is among one of the most common conditions affecting the oral cavity. The Chinese might have noticed bleeding gums as early as 2500 BCE. They termed the associated diseases as “Ya Kon” which means diseases of soft tissue surrounding the teeth. Even today, this problem still continues to affect us even with so many modern facilities available in the field of oral care.
Gum disease begins with plaque, a sticky film of food particles, germs and saliva. If not removed, plaque will settle at the gum line. The germs will produce toxins that will make the gums red, tender and likely to bleed when brushing your teeth. There are certain chronic conditions and even some medications that can cause plaque to accumulate more quickly. The purpose of daily brushing, rinsing and flossing is to clean away this plaque. When this plaque is not removed it can harden into tartar which builds up along the gum line and traps germs below. The mildest form of gum disease is called gingivitis and is the most common.
The primary cause of gingivitis is the bacteria that coat your teeth, and if oral hygiene is poor, it forms a sticky white substance called plaque. The bacteria here proliferates faster and produces toxins that irritates your gums, causing them to become swollen and red. When left untreated, they will destroy the tissues connecting the gums to the tooth, and eventually the tooth to the bones. This causes a deep pocket in the gums where the bacteria starts to collect, eventually the bony structure begins to break down. At this stage, the condition has now progressed into what we call periodontitis, an irreversible form of gum disease.
Ayurveda and Bleeding Gums
In Ayurveda, ‘bleeding from gum’ is known as ‘Sheetada’. It is one of the 15 kinds of gum disease (Danta Moolagata Roga).
The Pitta dosha is considered as the primary causative factor for bleeding gums. When the liver is lethargic, the Pitta that is distributed throughout the body starts to travel in one direction. When this congestion of Pitta takes place in the gums, they are unable to hold blood which results in bleeding gums. In the case that there is excess mucus or extreme acidity it may also lead to a bacterial infection that is identified as a Kapha disorder.
Therefore, one of the Ayurvedic treatments for bleeding gums is Shodhana or purification of the body by mild purgation (mridu virechana) and emesis (vamana). This helps to bring balance to the Kapha and Pitta doshas.
Root Causes of Bleeding Gums
The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes where bleeding gums are a symptom.
- Poor dental hygiene
- Gingivitis (or pregnancy gingivitis)
- Gum disease
- Trench mouth
- Poorly fitting dentures and unbalanced bite
- Pregnancy and hormonal imbalance
- Dry mouth
- Vitamin deficiency (such as vitamin C and K deficiency – may lead to scurvy)
- Certain medications (blood thinners are among the biggest culprits)
- Tobacco use
- Clenching or grinding teeth
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
While the causes listed above could definitely be at the root of your problems, these are some factors that put you at risk.
Age: The possibility of gum disease increases with age. Adults who are 30 or older have a 50% chance of being affected by gum disease and chances are as high as 70% in those over 65 years of age.
Stress: Stress is linked to multiple health problems, including periodontal disease. Studies show that stress can lower immunity and the body’s ability to fight against infections, like periodontal diseases.
Drugs: As stated above, blood thinners are definitely a trigger for gum-related issues but other prescription medications like anti-depressants, certain heart medications and oral contraceptives may put you at greater risk. Check with your doctor or dentist to determine if your meds are causing your gums problems.
New toothbrush or flossing routine: Changing up your flossing routine or flossing after a few days can lead to bleeding gums. Similarly, switching from a soft-bristled toothbrush to a firm brush may also result in gums that bleed. Choose the right kind of toothbrush with the help of your dental health practitioner. Being too vigorous with a toothpick, floss or interdental brushes can also set off the problem.
Smoking: Smokers are at a much higher risk for gum disease as cigarettes contain dangerous toxins that add to inflammation and decrease the body’s immune response.
Genetics: Some of us are genetically predisposed to gum disease. Your dentist can help you determine your tendency towards gum disease to expedite better management of your oral health.
Symptoms of Bleeding Gums
The following symptoms of bleeding gums are easy to spot. When you look into the mirror, do your gums or teeth look very red? Do your gums appear swollen and are pulling away from the teeth? Touch your gums and see if you feel discomfort or if they feel slightly spongy to the touch.
- Bad breath
- Bleeding during brushing, or in the saliva, while spitting
- Eating of any coarse food items may induce bleeding
- Pus oozing from gums
- Red, tender or swollen gums
- Recession of gums from teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose and shaky teeth
Diagnosis of Bleeding Gums
For persistent bleeding gums, there are some essential tests to be performed by a dental professional:
- Oral examination of the teeth and gums
- X-rays of teeth, jaw and chest (in order to rule out lung problems which may result in bleeding from the mouth)
- CBC, blood differential
- TC, DC, ESR, Hb%, sugar, calcium, urea and creatinine
- Coagulation factors and serum prothrombin time
- Bleeding and clotting time
Ayurvedic Treatment for Bleeding Gums
|Ayurvedic Supplements (to be taken under physician’s guidance – Consult Now)||
Red Tooth Powder
Oil Pulling or Oil Swishing for Healthy Teeth and Gums
How to Brush Your Teeth Correctly
This is how to brush your teeth in order to gain maximum benefits. It is best to choose an herbal toothpaste containing herbs such as neem, triphala, cinnamon, peppermint, clove, fennel, babool and meswak.
Water Irrigation to Clean Between Your Teeth
|Yoga||Sitkari Pranayama (Teeth Hissing)
According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, this pranayama is extremely beneficial in diseases of tongue, mouth and throat. It is also very effective in curing dental problems like pyorrhea. Use sitkari pranayama as a holistic bleeding gums treatment.