Bleeding gums could be a sign of a diet too low in vitamin C, researchers in a new study suggest. They urge people who are prone to bleeding gums to see their dentist and also to pay attention to their vitamin C intake.

Bleeding, gums, could, indicate, vitamin, deficiency

Bleeding of the gums is one of the symptoms of sensitive gums, gum inflammation or gingivitis, or even periodontitis. Also, we generally advise people prone to bleeding gums, especially when they brush their teeth or bite on raw fruit, to consult their dentist without too much delay.

In a new study, published this February 1st in the review Nutrition Reviews, American researchers suggest to look also on the side of the food contributions in vitamin C, because bleeding gums could be the sign of a deficiency.

 "When you see your gums bleeding, the first thing you need to tell yourself is not 'I should brush more. You should try to figure out why your gums are bleeding. And a vitamin C deficiency is one of the possible reasons," commented Dr Philippe Hujoel, first author of the study, a dentist and professor of oral health sciences at the School of Dentistry at the University of Washington, USA.

The study is actually a meta-analysis of 15 clinical trials in six different countries, involving 1,140 participants, in which the tendency to gum bleeding was assessed. It also includes data from 8,210 U.S. residents interviewed for the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A call to monitor dietary vitamin C intakes in addition to oral recommendations

Results showed that a tendency to gum bleeding was associated with low blood vitamin C levels. Increasing the daily vitamin C intake of those affected helped to reduce these bleeding problems. 

Evidence also suggests that dietary recommendations for vitamin C, designed primarily to protect against scurvy, are too low, and that such low vitamin C intakes can lead to a tendency to bleed. Specifically, the team believes that a tendency for bleeding gums and retinal bleeding could be a sign of a general disorder in the microvascular system, and a microvascular hemorrhagic tendency in the brain, heart and kidneys. 

Dr. Hujoel recommends that people who regularly bleed gums keep an eye on their daily vitamin C intake, particularly by incorporating vitamin C-rich foods such as kale, peppers and kiwis into their diet. Supplementation can also be considered at 100 to 200 mg per day if blood levels are very low or if you are unable or unwilling to change your eating habits. The research team points out that some diets overlook certain fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, such as kiwi and oranges.  

 "There was a time when gum bleeding was more generally considered a potential marker of vitamin C deficiency. But over time, they have been drowned out or marginalized by this over-emphasis on treating the bleeding symptom by brushing or flossing, rather than treating the cause," Dr. Hujoel lamented.

Source : MedicalXpress