There are many reasons why a person’s gums might bleed, and certain medications, such as blood thinners, may be to blame. Blood thinners are necessary for a number of conditions, and if you are taking blood thinners, it is important to understand how your medication can impact your overall oral health and your day to day oral care.
Blood Thinners and Dental Care: The Basics
The two most common blood thinners are anticoagulants and antiplatelets. Anticoagulants increase the time is takes for your blood to clot, making it harder for blood clots to form. Drugs such as Warfarin, Rivaroxaban, and Dalteparin fall into this category. Antiplatelets are used to prevent platelets in the blood from sticking together and forming a clot. Drugs such as Aspirin, Plavix, and Brilinta fall into this second category.
You should always inform your dentist of any medications you are taking, including the dosage and frequency. Blood thinners are no exception to this rule. If you need to undergo a dental procedure you may need to stop your medication a few days before your procedure and undergo a blood test. However, under no circumstance should you stop taking your blood thinners without first consulting your doctor. Communication in this situation is key in successfully managing your dental procedure, and good oral health while keeping your heart healthy.
Blood Thinners and Your Daily Dental Routines
A person on blood thinners needs to be careful in many areas of hygiene, including shaving, flossing, and tooth brushing. There are a few simple steps you can follow to minimize gum bleeding and discomfort, and also reduce the risk of developing gingivitis. A healthy oral routine consists of brushing twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing once per day, and using mouth wash once per day.
If you are on blood thinners, your dental routine requires special attention. It is important to use an extra soft tooth brush or a WaterPik to reduce damage to the gums. If you use a regular wax floss take extra caution to not damage your gums. You can do so by beginning at the bottom of the tooth when flossing, and curving the floss in a C shape up the tooth, alongside the gum, and down the size of the neighbouring tooth. This will help reduce the risk of cutting or slicing your gum. It is very important to not skip flossing because flossing gets what your toothbrush is not able too. You can also choose to use satin floss, which will be gentler on your gums.
Blood Thinners and Gum Disease: Now What?
Patients who are not only on blood thinners but who already have gum disease are at an increased risk for oral bleeding. It is important to have your dentist check to determine the exact cause if you notice your gums bleeding as it may be gum disease or another issue causing it and not your medication. You should not use harsh or abrasive toothpaste or toothpicks while on blood thinners. It is advisable to check your mouth regularly for bleeding or sores. If you need to wear dentures, or have a retainer, you should leave them off for at least 8 hours a day giving your gums a chance to rest. It is very important to be sure that your dentures or retainer fit properly so they do not damage your gums.
Blood thinners for many area very important medication to help them stay healthy. So it is important to understand how to keep your mouth healthy during the process. A few simple steps, and good communication with your doctor will keep your mouth healthy.
As always, if you have any questions about blood thinners and your dental care, please give us a call in the office so we can set up an appointment to talk about it further.