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Why Are My Gums Bleeding? It Could Be a Sign of Vitamin C Deficiency

Bleeding gums can be caused by a ton of different things. Maybe you simply flossed a little too hard or put too much muscle into your brushing technique. Most of us start to worry about gum disease when bleeding happens on a regular basis, but new research claims this common dental problem might have more to do with our vitamin C levels.

Why are my gums bleeding?

“There was a time in the past when gingival bleeding was more generally considered to be a potential marker for a lack of vitamin C,” Philippe Hujoel, a dentist and professor of oral health sciences in the University of Washington School of Dentistry explains. “But over time, that’s been drowned out or marginalized by this over-attention to treating the symptom of bleeding with brushing or flossing, rather than treating the cause.”

That’s not to say gum disease couldn’t also be a potential cause, which is why it’s important to keep your regular dental check up appointments. But if it’s just a small amount of bleeding, eating more vitamin C-rich food — like broccoli, leafy greens, and citrus — might help in between visits. 

How to Stop Bleeding Gums

Hujoel shared his findings after analyzing 15 clinical studies from across the globe. Each one focused on healthy individuals who showed bleeding after gentle prodding of their gums and found low levels of vitamin C in their bloodstreams. The participants were then instructed to boost the vitamin C intake in their diet and quickly saw a promising reversal of the bleeding gums symptoms. 

Hujoel points out that people on following paleo or low-carb diets might be especially vulnerable to a lack of vitamin C while avoiding sugary fruit like oranges. In those cases, he recommends adding a supplement with at least 100 to 200 mg. of the vitamin. Most options provide at least 500 mg., like Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C (Buy on Amazon, $7.71), so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get a good boost. 

If bleeding gums don’t get any better after cranking up the vitamin C, it’s definitely time to see the dentist. Here’s hoping all we see is healthy pearly whites when we brush!

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