Bleeding gums are typically caused by gingivitis, however, they can be caused by medications and dietary supplements. If your gums bleed profusely when brushing or flossing, or during a probing dental examination, see your physician for a checkup. If no medical cause is found, your oral bleeding may be a side effect from the following medications and supplements:
A common side effect of aspirin is bleeding. Aspirin decreases platelet aggregation, which means that if you take it, your blood will take longer to clot. In addition to bleeding gums, aspirin consumption can lead to prolonged bleeding after minor cuts, and gastrointestinal bleeding.
If your doctor has recommended that you take a daily aspirin to reduce your risk for a heart attack or stroke, do not stop taking it simply because your gums are bleeding. Doing so may raise your risk for a dangerous cardiovascular event.
2. Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may play a role in the prevention of heart attacks, blood clots, and cerebral vascular accidents. Like aspirin, fish oil supplements affect the way your blood platelets clot, and therefore, heighten the risk for oral bleeding.
In addition to taking fish oil supplements, eating large amounts of fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel may also cause decreased platelet aggregation. If you take fish oil supplements or eat fatty fish more than a couple of times a week, let your dentist know.
3. Garlic Supplements
The active ingredient in garlic supplements is allicin. Like aspirin, allicin inhibits platelet aggregation, raising your risk for bleeding gums. Fresh garlic also contains allicin and may also promote oral bleeding. While both fresh garlic and garlic supplements can cause your gums to bleed, they may lower your risk for gingivitis and cavities.
Garlic has potent anti-bacterial properties, and may help lower the bacterial count inside your mouth. The allicin in garlic also possesses anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, which also helps promote a healthy mouth, and may lower your risk for oral yeast infections such as candida. Another beneficial effect of garlic is that it may slow or even stop the progression of gum disease, however, it is not substitute for regular dental checkups and tooth cleanings.
To learn more about oral health and bleeding gums, contact us today.