If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or floss, then you probably have a touch of gingivitis. While gum disease is the most common cause of bleeding gums, there are other causes that may raise your risk. Here are some reasons for your bleeding gums that are unrelated to gingivitis and what you can do about them:


Both over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause bleeding gums. Aspirin is one of these medications, and if you take it on a regular basis, your gums may bleed profusely. Aspirin decreases platelet aggregation, and because of this, blood does not clot as quickly as it would without aspirin.

This not only raises your risk for bleeding gums, but it can also cause nosebleeds, easy bruising, blood in the urine, and in some cases, internal bleeding. Prescription anticoagulants can also cause bleeding gums. These drugs are prescribed for those who are at high risk for heart attacks, blood clots, or strokes. Like aspirin, prescription anticoagulants affect the clotting ability of your blood and may even raise the risk for cerebral bleeding.

If you develop bleeding gums as a result of your medications, let your dentist know so that he or she can take extra care during cleanings and examinations to help prevent a prolonged bleeding episode.

It is important to note that even if you develop bleeding gums as a result of your anticoagulant medication, you should not stop taking it abruptly. Doing so may raise your risk for a life-threatening event such as a blood clot, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack, or even a cardiac arrest. Talk to your physician about weaning off your medication so that he or she can recommend a replacement medication. 

Vitamin C Deficiency

If you have a vitamin C deficiency, you may develop bleeding gums. Not only might you notice bleeding during your oral care routine, but your gums may also bleed when you chew or even when you speak. In some cases, a severe vitamin C deficiency can cause a spontaneous oral hemorrhage. A severe deficiency is known as scurvy, and while not as prevalent as it was a century ago, it is still seen in many people.

Your physician can perform a simple blood test to check your vitamin C levels, and if you have scurvy or are otherwise deficient in vitamin C, your doctor may recommend that you take an over-the-counter supplement. Vitamin C deficiencies are reversed quickly, and when you take vitamin supplements, your gums may stop bleeding in as little as a week or two. Be sure to talk to your physician about taking vitamin C supplements before you start taking large doses, as this can cause side effects such as gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.

Your dentist will be able to determine if you have a deficiency by examining your gum tissue and may recommend that you also increase your intake of citrus fruit and green leafy vegetables, as these foods help restore damaged gum tissue.

Vitamin C helps repair collagen and it also helps reduce infection-causing bacteria that can accumulate inside your oral cavity. Be sure to tell your dentist that you are taking supplemental vitamin C so that he or she can be on the lookout for early signs of dental erosion. Because of its high acid content, vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, can cause the enamel on your teeth to become thin or eroded. 

If you take aspirin or prescription medications, or if you have a vitamin C deficiency, work with both your physician and dentist. When you work with both of these professional disciplines, you will be less to likely to suffer the effects of bleeding gums. Learn more from a clinic such as RTC Dental.