This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

Bleeding Gums

For the past few months I've had a problem with bleeding gums, and from the looks of it, they've also receeded a bit. I can't brush my teeth anymore without spitting up at least some blood.

In the past making sure I got at least a few hundred mg's of Vitamin C used to help with that, but now I've been taking 1 g of Vitamin C the past few days and it has done nothing to stop it. Perhaps the synthetic doesn't work as well?

Could it be as simple as a vitamin deficiency? For the record, I never get nosebleeds (even though those two seem to go together in most people) and have access to homemade cheese and butter so I'm sure I get enough Vitamin K (but I've considered ordering some Thorne).

Anyone have any ideas?

asked Apr 16, 2013 by JuiceUser
I would try k2, you can't be sure your dairy has any significant amount of k2.  Oil pulling with coconut oil could help too.  make sure your not brushing too hard.
I got a cheap version of a sonic toothbrush that my sister had had good results with. It's called a Sonic  Spinbrush, and I think it might be made by Colgate or one of those regular brands. Weirdly it doesn't have the brand name on it. Anyway, it seems to build the gums up and make them healthier. Maybe it's like callus formation.  Edit: not Colgate, but Arm and Hammer.   It also comes as a battery replaceable not rechargeable toothbrush.
Oil pulling cliff ? really haha

it comes from a defiency for sure WrxSTI.. in energy

brushing them or using any sort of floss will only aggrivate it .. are they sensitive to cold aswell?
You need to floss; don't listen to Alex.  You could also try rinsing with salt water:
Here's a study done on oil pulling for gingivitis:   Sounds like it is good for oral/dental health.
I have had really bad receding gum lines in the past (I now have four teeth filled at the gum line it was so bad - probably bad diet related, but). Anyhow, the dentist told me to brush in a circular pattern and very very gently - it seems to help. Also, oil pulling with coconut oil has done wonders for my teeth and gums - they are shades whiter and the gums are much cleaner/healthier. I highly recommend it. Swish a tbsp. of coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes in the morning upon waking (no eating or drinking anything). That's it - do it for five weeks everyday and then a few days a week thereafter.
Do you get enough copper?

I was going to ask that exact same thing. I too had bleeding gums a while ago, grey hair and I sprained a tendon in my foot rather too easily and began to suspect copper status might be an issue. Reluctantly I upped my copper intake a little and I almost didn't notice the gums which haven't actually stopped bleeding completely, but bleed much less.

7 Answers

tldr: If you start "eating peat" and your gums hurt your teeth just might just be moving into proper configuration.

This thread is old, but recently I had the experience of pretty bad gum pain a few months into "eating peat." I had disturbing gum bleeding when brushing and flossing and some bouts of all day irritation. I've never had a cavity or any serious dental problems, so of course I imagined acid OJ and milk were eating my teeth and assumed something was going wrong with a vitamin/mineral deficiency. But I now think my teeth were moving! I think the pain and bleeding is similar to an infant's teething pain. I never had braces or orthodontia, but perhaps the experience is similar.

I had a five year sleeping bruxism problem. I got measured at the dentist for a custom made night mouth guard and the dentist pointed out where my lower left k9 lightly hit my upper teeth wrong. Well I now notice that's no longer true. I'm also pretty sure I stopped grinding my teeth at night. I think my teeth have moved quite a bit over the last six months. This is at 31 years old! If I put on the "night guard" now I find it doesn't fit at all. The shape of my upper bridge has changed.

answered Feb 16, 2014 by 4a552f55cbb9
edited Feb 16, 2014 by 4a552f55cbb9

You're like a poster-child for Weston A. Price Foundation but they might call you a cheater. Congrats to your morphogenetic field.

I have a working theory that people with high cortisol or other adrenal hormones might have a relative deficiency of Vitamin C.

Vitamin C blunts the release of cortisol from adrenals under stress...

Adrenals dump Vitamin C under stress

Animals synthesize up to several dozen grams of Vitamin C when stressed... (can't find reference for this at the moment but I've read it in many places)

It all kinda connects somehow. I'll try getting 250g of ascorbic acid from purebulk sometime soon and then dosing 5-10g a day to see if anything improves.

answered Feb 17, 2014 by JuiceUser

I've thought this too ever since reading Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration years ago. This is what he says about the North American Indians and how they prevent scurvy:

"They lived in a country in which grizzly bears were common. Their pelts were highly prized and they captured many of them with baited pitfalls. Their knowledge of the use of different organs and tissues of the animals for providing a defense against certain of the affections of the body which we speak of as degenerative diseases was surprising. When I asked an old Indian, through an interpreter, why the Indians did not get scurvy he replied promptly that that was a white man's disease. I asked whether it was possible for the Indians to get scurvy. He replied that it was, but said that the Indians know how to prevent it and the white man does not. When asked why he did not tell the white man how, his reply was that the white man knew too much to ask the Indian anything. I then asked him if he would tell me. He said he would if the chief said he might. He went to see the chief and returned in about an hour, saying that the chief said he could tell me because I was a friend of the Indians and had come to tell the Indians not to eat the food in the white man's store. He took me by the hand and led me to a log where we both sat down. He then described how when the Indian kills a moose he opens it up and at the back of the moose just above the kidney there are what he described as two small balls in the fat. These he said the Indian would take and cut up into as many pieces as there were little and big Indians in the family and each one would eat his piece. They would eat also the walls of the second stomach. By eating these parts of the animal the Indians would keep free from scurvy, which is due to the lack of vitamin C. The Indians were getting vitamin C from the adrenal glands and organs. Modern science has very recently discovered that the adrenal glands are the richest sources of vitamin C in all animal or plant tissues. We found these Indians most cooperative in aiding us. We, of course, had taken presents that we thought would be appreciated by them, and we had no difficulty in making measurements and photographs, nor, indeed, in making a detailed study of the condition of each tooth in the dental arches. I obtained samples of saliva, and of their foods for chemical analysis."

Link to quote:

So it seems plausible that excessive stress would deplete the adrenals of vitamin C if not enough is continually supplied. Take an extremely stressed person and/or habitual dieters and I think that's a recipe for deficiencies of all sorts.

Yes, so animals who synthesize their own Vitamin C store it in the adrenals. Humans also store their vitamin C in the adrenals.

The question is, what is it doing in the adrenals? Why is it needed there?
My best guess is, it is somehow involved or used in the production of adrenal (stress) hormones. So high amounts of stress could have the potential to use up Vitamin C from the rest of the body since having enough cortisol likely takes priority for survival over, say, having healthy gums and what not.

I agree that receding gums are really "subclinical" scurvy in many cases. If you

  • have receding gums
  • are under constant stress
  • you are a smoker
  • you get gastric upset/ulcers with aspirin usage

then DROP THE ASPIRIN immediately and get on a good Vit-C supplement quickly.
The effect of soluble aspirin on the availability of vitamin C has been studied in guinea-pigs and human subjects. In the human study, the concentrations of vitamin C in plasma, leucocytes and urine were found to be markedly elevated at various intervals following administration of a single oral dose of 500 mg of the vitamin. The vitamin C-associated increases, however, appeared to be blocked when the vitamin was given simultaneously with aspirin (900 mg). Similar findings were observed in guinea-pigs, where in addition faecal excretion of vitamin C was found to be significantly increased when the vitamin was administered together with aspirin. These results suggest that aspirin may impede gastrointestinal absorption of vitamin C. This hypothesis has been strengthened with in vitro studies using everted gut sac preparations where both the serosal/mucosal concentration gradient and the uptake of vitamin C per unit weight of intestine were markedly lowered by acetyl-salicylate. Such an interaction is relevant to the population where vitamin C intake is borderline.
Healthy adults were given four diets, each one for one week: Low ascorbic acid diet, low ascorbic acid diet plus acetylsalicylic acid (3 g/d), high ascorbic acid diet (1 g/d) and high ascorbic acid diet plus acetylsalicylic acid. At low ascorbic acid intake, acetylsalicylic acid increased urinary ascorbic acid, but at high ascorbic acid intake, acetylsalicylic acid instead decreased urinary ascorbic acid. The latter effect was probably due to an inhibited intestinal absorbtion of ascorbic acid, and the former effect may reflect decreased protein binding and tissue uptake of ascorbic acid caused by acetylsalicylic acid. In no instance, acetylsalicylic acid affected plasma ascorbic acid. The effect of ascorbic acid on substances related to lipid peroxidation was investigated. The high ascorbic acid diets decreased plasma lipoperoxide and retinol binding protein. No change was observed in serum tocopherol, iron status, erythrocyte lipid fluorescence, plasma ceruloplasmin, urinary and plasma selenium and glutathione peroxidase activity. Thus, one-week supplementation of ascorbic acid seems to have only marginal effects on lipid peroxidation and antioxidant status.
The gastric mucosa is the largest depot of ASC in the human body with ASC concentrations 25 times higher than in plasma. In healthy subjects, clinically relevant doses of ASA reduced ASC concentrations in gastric mucosa by about 10% within 6 days resulting from antioxidative defense mechanisms. In patients with long-term ASA treatment or conditions with additional risks such as elderly subjects with unfavorable dietary conditions and impaired antioxidative protection, a protective adjunct administration of ASC appears to be beneficial.
The effect of aspirin on the protein binding of ascorbic acid
Ascorbic acid attenuates aspirin-induced gastric damage: role of inducible nitric oxide synthase.

@WrxSTI: For your question here is a (simple) overview I found.

I think the Vitamin-C/cortisol/adrenal/stress connection is one of the most neglected in medicine. It seems Hans Seyle was really one of the last ones studying this topic seriously.

This is great, thanks. I love when I have a hunch about something and it turns out there's a whole lot going for it. Quite important information as far as I'm concerned.

Thanks for sharing those links, nograde!

Funny, I talked with my doctor a while back about taking some Camu Camu powder daily for it's high vitamin C content to help my with adrenals because I remembered that adrenal gland quote from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. She told me to do Maca root because it has other properties to it that is very beneficial to the adrenals. What they are, I have no idea! I decided to just start drinking orange juice instead.

And I hadn't put two and two together, but about three months ago I was getting bleeding gums during my nightly flossing and I just assumed it had to do with my thyroid. But after all this scurvy talk, I just realized that I've been drinking a lot of the orange juice these past three months and I've had no bleeding gums since. Hmm...interesting!

Even a quart of OJ daily didn't help stop my gum bleeding. In fact I found a daily yellow bell pepper to be much more effective in that regard. Though even that is not enough. So either I need a LOT more (my cortisol is quite high) or something else beside the Vitamin C... I will order try some large doses of C around 5 grams daily and see if that takes care of it, if not, I'll look to other things.

Hmm...I did a rough calculation and with the quart of OJ you would have been getting a little over 200mg more of vitamin C than you'd get in a large yellow bell pepper(assuming they were large) of course not taking into account the vitamin/mineral difference depending on soil quality and growing conditions. The peppers could have had more vitamin C based on better soil/growing conditions ect. I'm assuming you weren't drinking any OJ on top of eating the daily pepper?

I don't think my cortisol levels are high anymore since taking all those daily 2 hour long naps. They seemed to help a lot, but I've been drinking at least five 8oz glasses of OJ daily and that's not counting all the other fruit I've been eating, like guava. For some reason my cravings for fruit have been pretty extreme lately so I've been eating a lot of it. I've been taking in a good 3000 calories total of food so I'm sure that helps too.

So yeah, maybe because your cortisol is still high you need much higher doses of the vitamin C, though this doesn't explain why you faired better with the yellow peppers that contained less vitamin C than the OJ unless of course you were having some OJ with it. That or the soil quality difference. Honestly, I'm stumped! I guess you'll find out soon enough when you supplement the large doses. Will be interesting to see if it helps.

Yeah the bell peppers alone are enough to help the gum bleeding a good deal, so it could be the anti-bacterial activity of capsaicin. But I have to wait to test out the Vit. C.

On a side note, I have some nasty problems with oranges. Since it seems that I have adrenaline issues and it doesn't take a whole lot for things to get scary bad. Just when I thought I had my symptoms under control for about a week I went and had an orange today and 2 hours later I started getting all the usual symptoms (tension and anxiety in chest, feeling hectic etc.) But just a week ago I was drinking orange juice without a problem, whereas few months before it caused me problems every time. It's so hit or miss. I'm taking taurine now which seems to help with the adrenaline, but everything that would increase metabolism makes me feel worse. T3 or NDT bring these same symptoms. It's like my adrenals cannot keep up with the rest of my body so when I try to push the thyroid it all starts falling apart. Can't make sense of things.

Oh, that's interesting about the peppers and capsaicin. Good to know! I've been making my own toothpaste out of coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint oil for a good six years now and I've assumed it is anti-bacterial. It gets my teeth squeaky clean and I never wake up with morning breath, which is the biggest test to pass, so I think it does the trick.

Yeah, I'm really stumped by your adrenal issue and the heart palps. And I know what you mean about your symptoms being hit or miss. I'm dealing with these stupid hives that I was getting from cultured dairy, but now I'm getting them with any random food. This allergy must share some commonality with your random reactions to the oranges and all I can think of is it goes back to the thyroid.

Nothing I've tried keeps the hives from coming back so I bit the bullet and got a prescription for NDT. I tried it over a year ago for a couple of months and the whole time I dealt with these extreme headaches and subsequent vomiting so I stopped taking it. I now wonder if these symptoms were due to my high cortisol being reduced by the NDT so I was feeling what the cortisol was actually suppressing...all the tension I've been under since my accident. Or at least that's how I understand it.

So maybe your continually running on adrenaline and we know the high cortisol and so when you take thyroid, it's bringing to light what the adrenaline and cortisol were actually covering up? It'd be nice if the high doses of vitamin C work for you. This way you can move forward knowing something your doing is working. It sucks to try so hard only to get no where. At some point the horse wants to get a taste of the carrot, you know?

Well, I hope it works for you! :)

I had bleeding gums and recession for 6+ months. I tried oil pulling, vitamin c and they didn't help(although it can't hurt to try anyway). Then I went to the dentist and got them cleaned. They were all cut up after getting them cleaned, but they quickly healed and are now a healthy pink colour, compared to the inflamed red colour they had before. They never bleed anymore and they don't seem to be receding any further. I changed the way I was brushing as well. After going to the dentist, I started basically brushing my gums as much as brushing my teeth. It felt weird at first because it was so different to the way I used to brush them. Before, I was trying to brush as close as possible to the gums, but trying to avoid actually touching them, because they would bleed whenever I touched them, but that just made things worse in the long run because I think dirt starting building up under my gums and I wasn't cleaning it properly. Anyway, they are much better now. Also, I brush gently in a circular motion as mentioned above. I don't use toothpaste either, just water. Also, I use a soft toothbrush.

answered Apr 18, 2013 by jaffa
edited Apr 18, 2013 by jaffa

In my experience it happed when I was malnourished.

answered Apr 21, 2013 by Nemesis

I have also had bleeding gums. Nothing helped, i've tried all sorts of toothpaste, brushes etc. It helped a little when I got better health and my thyroid fixed. But I would suggest you trying your own toothpaste. It is working for me. Just mix coconut oil, bentonite clay and baking soda.

answered Apr 18, 2013 by fat cat

This is an area that I'm really working on/experimenting with at the moment, since it's one my current issues.

I hypothesize that most people have poor thyroids, and thus need some type of thyroid stimulant or their teeth will rot. Starches must have some mild stimulants in them, as I notice that this bleeding gum issue is found in higher frequencies amongst groups of people who follow diets that restrict starches.

I find that this meal, eaten in the following order, alleviates gum bleeding effectively, entirely and immediately (within 30 minutes of consumption):

Start with fruit
Then drink coffee/coke
Then eat meat/dairy.

The problem I'm having is that I find caffeine to be inflammatory, unless eaten with gelatine; however, gelatine seems to also blunt the stimulant effect of the caffeine, and subsequently the caffeine doesn't alleviate gum bleeding. Seems like a cruel game nature is playing here where all thyroid stimulants are also inflammatory.

answered Feb 19, 2014 by Shredder

As much as it sucks to say this, the Vitamin C isn't helping much. I've been taking 5 g the past few days (though maybe that is not enough time) but the gum bleeding has not improved much (though my skin complexion has improved slightly).

I think the majority of teeth and gum disease boils down to bacteria. The reason this becomes more of a problem in hypothyroidism is probably weakening of the immune system and connective tissues which lets them invade gums more easily.

Oral health rapidly goes down when the endocrine system is compromised. This is probably why bell peppers helped, capsaicin helps kill those suckers.

I've also concluded that it's not a best idea to brush with salt water, just rinse. Brushing with salt seems to aggravate the gums more so I just use a soft brush with some mineral water, and then rinse out with salt water. However, salt water is probably not powerful enough to kill all the bacteria. Maybe hydrogen peroxide would be capable of keeping things under control.

Either way for me the whole bleeding gums started after I developed hormonal issues and such, so I guess someone who is healthy will have no problem fighting off oral bacteria but for those of us who are a bit messed up we better find something to keep it in control until we get better. I don't know about the safety of peroxide, supposedly if you just swish it around for 5 seconds and spit it out it should be enough to kill bacteria but not do any damage to teeth or gums.

answered Mar 18, 2014 by JuiceUser

My teeth were always best when i was eating bucket loads of sugar ironically. While I was vegetarian they started deteriorating and I had bleeding gums. Later I started eating meat and cheese, which halted the decline but didn't fix anything. Now I eat sweets and fruit again take vitamin D & K, my teeth are almost back to how they were at the beginning (minus the one I chipped eating bread because it was so weak!). Bleeding gums can also be a sign of excess iron, worth ruling out.

I spent a lot of time and effort looking for some super way of cleaning my teeth, but it was a waste of time. Perhaps the simplest intervention I can think of that actually made a difference was the cessation of the highly acidic foods I was eating at the time (namely very vinegary salad dressing).

If you're taking lots of vitamin C, it's probably worth keeping an eye on your copper intake too, since Vitamin C depletes copper.