3 Foods That May Increase Your Risk For Bleeding Gums

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If you are prone to bleeding gums, your dentist may tell you that you need to make changes in your oral care routine. This may include brushing longer and flossing more, and while these interventions will help improve your oral health, there are other things that may contribute to bleeding gums. Here are three foods that may raise your risk for bleeding gums and what you can do about it:


Salmon, as well as other fresh fatty fish such as sardines, herring, and tuna, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s decrease platelet aggregation, which not only makes your blood less sticky, they also thin your blood.

Salmon has potent anti-clotting properties, and while the anticoagulant effects of fatty fish may not be as potent as aspirin or prescription anticoagulants, eating too much may cause abnormal bleeding. Omega-3 fatty acids can cause bruising, nosebleeds, gastrointestinal bleeding, blood in your urine, and bleeding gums.

Fatty fish consumption, coupled with aspirin or other anticoagulant medication may raise your risk for dangerous bleeding. If your doctor recommended that you take aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke, you may be advised to cut back on your fatty fish consumption, as this will help stop bleeding gums and reduce your risk for dangerous internal bleeding.


Garlic is often called "nature's antibiotic," as it may be beneficial in reducing your risk for bacterial infections. Garlic contains allicin, which in addition to its powerful antimicrobial effects, is a potent anticoagulant. If you eat too much garlic or take garlic supplements, you may develop bleeding gums, which might complicate minor dental procedures such as fillings, root canals, or tooth extractions.

When your blood is too thin, post-procedural bleeding may be hard to stop. According to American Family Physician, "patients at risk of thrombosis should be advised that garlic may have a modest but significant effect on platelet aggregation compared with placebo." 

This means that garlic may be beneficial to people at risk for thrombosis, or blood clot formation, because it inhibits platelet aggregation and thins your blood.  If you're troubled by bleeding gums, limit your consumption of garlic, and if you take garlic supplements to manage high cholesterol, talk to your doctor about other ways to keep your blood lipids in check such as eating a low fat diet, losing weight, exercising, and taking a statin drug, if applicable.


If you're a chocolate lover, you'll be happy to learn that eating it in moderation can be good for your heart. Chocolate contains a compound known as flavanol, which may work on protecting your cardiovascular system in the same way aspirin does. SFGATE explains, "the key is a compound in chocolate called flavanol, which slows down platelet clumping that can block off blood vessels and lead to a heart attack or stroke."

This slowing down of your platelet clumping leads to an anticoagulant effect in the blood, which can cause bleeding gums. If you like chocolate, no need to give it up entirely. Decreasing your consumption to a couple small servings a week will help prevent the potent anti-clotting action, which may be stronger in dark chocolate than it is in milk chocolate.

If you have bleeding gums and enjoy eating any of the above foods, try cutting down of your intake to see if it makes a difference. If oral bleeding persists despite meticulous oral hygiene and diet changes, see your dentist for further evaluation and treatment.

If dietary modifications and stepping up your oral care regimen fails to resolve oral bleeding, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, a dental surgeon specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. If you are apprehensive about seeing a gum surgeon, rest assured that if you need oral surgery, you will be offered sedation dentistry options so that you will be very relaxed during your procedure. For more information, visit websites like http://www.allaboutsmilesinc.com/.