Clinical

Bleeding gums may be a sign you need more vitamin C in your diet

“Instead of thinking, “I need to brush more,” when your gums start bleeding, the first thing you should do is stop. If your gums are bleeding, you should look into the cause. And one of the reasons may be a lack of vitamin C “Dentist and professor of oral health sciences at the University of Washington’s School of Dentistry, lead author Philippe Hujoel, stated as much. An analysis of published studies from 15 clinical trials conducted in six countries, with 1,140 mostly healthy participants, was conducted by Hujoel and published in Nutrition Reviews on February 1. The study also included data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which polled 8,210 US residents. Low levels of vitamin C in the blood were shown to be linked with bleeding gums on mild probing, or gingival bleeding propensity, as well as bleeding in the eye, or retinal hemorrhage. The researchers also discovered that in individuals with low vitamin C plasma levels, increasing daily consumption of vitamin C helped stop the bleeding. Both gum bleeding and retinal bleeding, according to Hujoel, an adjunct epidemiology professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health, may be signs of general microvascular system problems, such as a microvascular bleeding propensity in the brain, heart, or kidneys.

As Hujoel points out, the findings do not indicate that using vitamin C to reverse an increased gingival bleeding propensity would avoid strokes or other severe health consequences. Researchers found that vitamin C guidelines meant to prevent scurvy, an often fatal illness caused by low vitamin C levels, are actually excessively low, and that this may lead to bleeding in the mouth, which should not be addressed with dental floss since it could lead to scurvy. As a result, Hujoel advises individuals to monitor their vitamin C consumption by include unprocessed vegetables like kale, peppers, and kiwis in their diets, and to consider taking a supplement containing 100 to 200 milligrams of vitamin C per day if necessary. Hujoel advised those on specific diets, such as the paleolithic way of eating, to monitor their vitamin C consumption. Kiwis and oranges, which are high in vitamin C, have a lot of sugar and should be avoided while following a low-carb diet.

It’s possible that avoiding certain foods may result in poor vitamin C consumption, which has been linked to an increased propensity to bleed. People who consume just lean meat and forgo vitamin-rich organ meats like offal run the danger of having inadequate intakes of vitamin C. Gum bleeding was shown to be correlated with high levels of vitamin C more than three decades ago. Gum bleeding was shown to be a biological indicator of vitamin C levels in two research co-authored by Paul Robertson, a former dean of the UW School of Dentistry. However, in the midst of dentistry discussions about bleeding gums, this link was forgotten. “Gingival bleeding used to be more often associated with a deficiency in the vitamin C compound. The problem is that instead of addressing the underlying cause, people have become more concerned with masking the sign of bleeding by brushing or flossing “Hujoel had something to say about that. According to Hujoel’s assessment of the research, “retinal hemorrhaging and cerebral strokes are linked to an enhanced gingival bleeding propensity, and (vitamin C) supplementation reverses the retinal bleeding associated with low (vitamin C plasma levels.”) As a result, not recognizing the link between gum bleeding and vitamin C deficiency may have severe health implications.

Journal Reference: Philippe P Hujoel, Tomotaka Kato, Isabel A Hujoel, Margaux L A Hujoel. Bleeding tendency and ascorbic acid requirements: systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trialsNutrition Reviews, 2021; DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nuaa115

Categories: Clinical