3 Things Besides Gum Disease That Can Cause Bleeding Gums

While gum disease is the primary cause of bleeding gums, other, less common things can cause your gums to bleed. If you notice that your gums bleed more than usual during your oral care routine, a preexisting medical condition or your medications may be to blame. Here are three things besides gum disease that can cause bleeding gums and what to do about them:


Anticoagulant medications such as warfarin, and to a lesser extent, aspirin, can cause bleeding gums. While it is typical for the gums to bleed during brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings, taking anticoagulants may cause your gums may bleed when you eat, talk, or in some cases, spontaneously.

Anticoagulant medications are used in the prevention of blood clots, and to reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke. These medications inhibit platelet aggregation, which means that they thin your blood, making it less likely to clot.

While this response is favorable if you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, it can cause abnormal oral bleeding as well as bleeding from your gastrointestinal tract. If you take anticoagulant medications, do not stop taking them because of bleeding gums.

Doing so may heighten your risk for a serious health condition. Instead, talk to your periodontist about ways to keep your gums healthy by maintaining a meticulous oral care routine and by visiting your dentist on a regular basis. If your gums bleed profusely, your physician may decide to lower your anticoagulant dosage so that your gums aren't as likely to bleed. 

Anti-Seizure Medications

If you have been diagnosed with epilepsy or another seizure disorder, you may be taking anti-seizure medications to reduce the frequency and severity of your episodes. One anti-seizure medication known as phenytoin can cause a condition known as gingival hyperplasia.

This disorder can cause bleeding gums, inflammation of gum tissue, and severe oral infections because overgrown gums make it difficult for you to brush underneath your gum line in order to remove plaque. The overgrowth of gum tissue can be so severe that it actually can grow over and in between your teeth.

If you develop gingival hyperplasia while taking phenytoin, your dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial oral rinse to help keep infections at bay. Gingival hyperplasia often develops in those taking high doses of anti-seizure medications, so in many cases, when the dosage is reduced, your gum tissue returns to normal.

Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that can affect your tear and salivary glands. Because of this, you may not produce enough saliva to wash away infection-causing bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to gingivitis and subsequent oral bleeding.

Sugar-free candy and gum can temporarily relieve your dry mouth, as can staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water; however, your doctor will probably recommend medications to help improve the flow of saliva as a more effective treatment.

If you have an autoimmune disorder and develop fragile, bleeding gums, avoid being over-zealous when performing your oral care routine. When flossing your teeth, gently wiggle the floss in-between your teeth instead of snapping it quickly into place, because this may injure your gums and promote bleeding. 

If you take any of the above medications, suffer from an autoimmune disorder, and have bleeding gums, see your periodontist for further evaluation and treatment. When you work with both your physician and dental professional, you can develop an effective treatment plan to help manage both your medical and dental conditions. Contact a company like Cumberland Periodontal Associate for more information.