Recent news about research done by the University of Washington reminds us that bleeding gums may be the result of low vitamin C, and not always a sign that you just need greater attention to oral hygiene.
“The association between gum bleeding and vitamin C levels has been recognized for more than 30 years,” says Jamie Alexander, DDS of Boynton Beach, FL. “I and other dentists have been reminding patients frequently about the need to brush twice a day and floss once a day, perhaps, to the extent that we have diluted another message. And that is that you need vitamin C to have healthy gum tissue. Healthy gum tissue not only protects your teeth but also helps protect your body from a wide range of inflammatory diseases like heart disease and diabetes.”
Researchers at the University of Washington have pointed out that vitamin C deficiency is a reality for some people, even with today’s availability of foods rich in C like oranges, grapefruit, peppers, kiwifruit, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, cantaloupe, cabbage, and tomatoes. “If someone is on a specialized diet, such as a paleo diet, it’s important that they take a look at their vitamin C intake,” said Dr. Philippe Hujoel. “Vitamin C-rich fruits such as kiwis or oranges are rich in sugar and thus typically eliminated from a low-carb diet.”
Dr. Hujoel’s literature review of published reports (from 15 clinical trials in six countries, involving 1,140 predominantly healthy participants, and data from 8,210 U.S. residents surveyed in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) determined that retinal hemorrhaging in the eye and cerebral strokes are associated with increased gum bleeding tendency and that vitamin C supplementation reverses the retinal bleeding associated with low vitamin C plasma levels.
If you are on a low-carb diet and avoiding sugar-rich fruits and not regularly eating C-rich vegetables, you may need to take a vitamin C supplement. Healthline.com has published an article on the recommended dosage of vitamin C you may want to take. For most adults, the highest daily intake to pose no risks is 2,000 mg. If you are pregnant or have health conditions such as chronic liver or kidney disease or a history of calcium-oxalate kidney stones, talk to your physician about whether you need a C supplement and how much. A simple blood test will determine if you have a vitamin C deficiency.