Vitamin Deficiencies & Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums are a sign of poor dental health, usually caused by inadequate dental cleanings and preventative care. If left untreated, bacteria can flourish and cause loss of teeth and escalate tooth decay. Improper diets that lead to certain vitamin deficiencies can lead to bleeding gums. Experts with the University of Maryland Medical Center recommend visiting your dentist for the cause of bleeding gums and treatment. Regular dental visits can detect the first signs of bleeding gums and treat the cause before your vitamin deficiency worsens leading to more complications.

A patient at the dentist. (Image: Karin Dreyer/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Vitamin C

Vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy and can cause bleeding gums. Other symptoms of scurvy include loose teeth with bleeding gums, joint pain and stiffness, bleeding under the skin and deep tissues, anemia and slow wound healing as stated by Vitamins-World. Scurvy isn’t a concern in modern times because of increased access to fruits and vegetables. Limited access of fruits, vegetables and fortified foods can be found with the elderly, alcoholics and persons who exclude fruits and vegetables from their diet. Daily reference intakes for vitamin C are 90 mg for males and 75 mg for females. Breastfeeding and pregnancy states require more vitamin C with ranges between 85 to 120 mg per day.

Niacin

Niacin or B-3 is a water-soluble vitamin that helps your body to convert food into energy used by your cells and DNA repair. Niacin deficiency is rare, but when pellagra or niacin deficiency occurs, a sore mouth with bleeding gums can results. Eating a diet low in tryptophan, which can be converted into niacin, can result in deficiency, according to medical experts Robert L. Souhami and John Moxham . Alcoholism and pregnancy can cause an increased need for niacin, therefore leading to deficiency when your diet is inadequate in foods rich in tryptophan or niacin. Males and females need 16 and 14 mg per day, respectively. Pregnancy and breastfeeding require 18 and 17 mg per day, respectively. Foods rich in niacin include chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, sardines and crimini mushrooms.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is involved in bone and teeth formation, maintaining healthy skin and mucus membranes of the mouth and lungs. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to bleed gums, in addition to dry, rough skin and infections of the lungs and bladder, according to Vitamin-World. Vitamin A deficiency is rare, but can occur if you are cholesterol lowering medications because of poor absorption of vitamin A. Food sources of vitamin A include organ meats, egg yolks, fruits and vegetables. Recommended daily intakes for vitamin A are 700 and 900 mcg per day for females and males, respectively.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin involved in proper blood clotting. Vitamin K is supplied by green, leafy vegetables and also by bacteria found in your colon or large intestines, according to Vitamin-World. Causes of deficiency can come from taking frequent or long-term antibiotic therapy, anti-coagulant or blood thinning therapy and avoidance of high vitamin K foods. Other sources of vitamin K include egg yolks, milk, yogurt, cauliflower, cabbage and tomatoes. Recommended intakes for vitamin K are 120 mcg for males and 90 mcg for females.

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