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Bleeding gums can be quite alarming. There are several conditions that can affect the bleeding of the gums including certain vitamin deficiencies. Here are the mechanisms, symptoms, and treatment for such conditions.

Bleeding from the gums is one of the first signs of gum disease. It indicates the presence of inflammation of the gums and is most commonly caused due to the accumulation of plaque on the surface of the teeth [1].

There are many other reasons though that can influence bleeding from the gums. Diabetes, deficiency of clotting factors, and even vitamin deficiencies can make the gums much more likely to bleed than otherwise. Cigarette smoking is one of the common factors that actually reduces the incidence of bleeding from the gums, although, that is not a good thing either [2].

Often, the patient will go to the doctor for bleeding gums treatment without any idea of the existence of any other problem. A thorough clinical and medical history may reveal further underlying problems.

Bleeding of gums due to vitamin deficiency

There are two main vitamins that can influence bleeding from the gums but both through very different mechanisms.

Vitamin C deficiency and bleeding from the gums

The first is vitamin C. Also called as ascorbic acid, the deficiency of this vitamin is quite rare in developed nations or among affluent families of developing ones.

A very small amount of vitamin C is needed to provide the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin. Citrus fruits like oranges or lemons are the best source of this vitamin.

Vitamin C plays an important role in keeping the gums healthy [3]. Collagen fibers run throughout the gums and the periodontal ligament and are responsible for keeping their structural integrity intact. A reduction in the vitamin C intake below recommended levels affects the repair and turnover of these collagen fibers [4].

The accumulation of damaged or poorly formed collagen fibers makes the gums very susceptible to destruction from microbial attack.

As a result, the gums and the other supporting structures of the teeth are unable to protect the gums against microbial attack as efficiently as they normally would [5].

In such a situation, even a small amount of plaque on the teeth or a minor amount of trauma (as suffered during toothbrushing) can cause a large amount of bleeding from the gums.

Vitamin K deficiency and bleeding from the gums

Vitamin K plays an important role in the clotting mechanism of the blood [6]. It is extremely rare for adults to have a vitamin k deficiency in their blood without any other contributing systemic disorder, although it may occur in infants [7].

If for some reason, a vitamin k deficiency does occur on the body, then spontaneous bleeding can occur from any part of the body, or internally.

The gums are exposed to minor insults in the oral environment frequently and so this can be the first area where the problem is diagnosed.

Bleeding in patients with vitamin K deficiency can be life-threatening because coagulation does not take place and so the bleeding does not stop [8].

Vitamin A or vitamin B3 deficiencies can also result in bleeding from the gums. Both these deficiencies are also quite rare.


While bleeding from the gums may be the first reason why a patient vista the dentist or a physician, it is unlikely to be the only symptom that a vitamin deficiency presents with.

A thorough medical history, blood tests, and clinical examination are the arts in chin these vitamin deficiencies are diagnosed.

Treatment of bleeding gums due to vitamin deficiencies

The first line of treatment of bleeding gums remains a professional scaling. Only if a bleeding disorder is suspected, should scaling be suspended until after the results are returned [9].

It is important to remember that whole certain conditions including vitamin deficiencies can make the gums more likely to bleed, the presence of plaque remains mandatory for inflammation to take place.

In an experimental setup with a completely micro-organism free oral environment, no bleeding from the gums will occur even in the presence of vitamin deficiencies [10].

This indicates that maintaining a strict oral hygiene becomes more important in patients who are systemically compromised.

It is, of course, also very important for the underlying vitamin deficiency to be treated. A nutritional diet, the use of vitamin supplements, or the treatment of a disorder preventing the absorption of vitamins from the digestive system is required to completely treat the disease.


Vitamin deficiencies have become much rarer than they once were. Vitamin C deficiencies, for example, were associated with seafaring people, who were on restricted diets for a long duration of time.

This does not mean, however, that they have been completely eliminated from the world. If you are a person above strenuous modest means then you would have to be suffering from a systemic disorder which prevents the absorption of vitamins in the body.

Bleeding from the gums is much more likely to be caused by poor oral hygiene than a vitamin deficiency and so get a scaling done before running to the nearest supplement shop!

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