Iron Deficiency Anemia And Your Gums

If you have iron deficiency anemia, then your symptoms may include pallor, weakness, shortness of breath, and a fast heart rate. In addition to systemic symptoms such as these, you may also develop localized symptoms of iron deficiency anemia in your mouth, and most specifically, your gums. Here are some ways dentistry professionals may suspect anemia simply by examining your gums:

Loss Of Color

Healthy gums are typically pink; however, when iron deficiency anemia is present, gum tissue may become pale. Anemia can make your gums so pale that they look gray. In addition to the pallor of your gums, anemia may also cause pallor of the cheek lining, the tongue, and base of the mouth.

If your dentist tells you that he or she believes you are anemic based upon your oral examination, make an appointment with your physician for a complete blood count. If your iron stores are low, your physician may prescribe ferrous sulfate tablets to correct the deficiency. Once your iron levels have been restored, your gums and other oral tissues will regain their normal color. 

Bleeding Gums

While bleeding gums are often the result of gingivitis or take anticoagulant medication, they can also mean that you have anemia. Although it is common for the gums to bleed when probed with dental instruments during an oral examination or cleaning, heavy bleeding or bleeding that takes a long time to stop may indicate a severe iron deficiency.

Consuming foods rich in iron and taking a vitamin C supplement will help increase your iron levels. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron from the foods you eat; however, it is important that you do not take mega doses. This can cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea.

If your gums still bleed heavily, see your physician. If your iron levels are very low, your gums may bleed without provocation, meaning that they will bleed spontaneously. Once your iron deficiency has been resolved, your gums will stop bleeding, provided that you maintain a good regimen of brushing and flossing.

If your gums and oral tissues are pale or if your gums bleed heavily, make an appointment with your dentist for an examination. If he or she suspects that you may have iron deficiency anemia, you may be referred back to your family physician for further evaluation and treatment. The sooner anemia is addressed and properly treated, the less likely you will be to experience further blood loss from your gums, which may exacerbate existing anemia.