Blood in Saliva

When It’s More Than Just Saliva

June 26, 2024 Written By: Joyce Kahng, DDS

Have you ever noticed a pinkish tinge in your saliva while brushing or spitting? It can be a bit alarming, but don’t panic just yet.

At the same time, while the occasional speck of blood isn’t always a major concern, regular blood definitely isn’t something you should ignore.

Below is helpful information about what might be causing bloody saliva, when to see a doctor, and how to keep your smile healthy and worry-free.

Common Culprits of Bloody Saliva

There are several common reasons why you might notice blood in your saliva, and most of them aren’t cause for major alarm. One of the most frequent culprits is gingivitis, a fancy word for gum disease. This often happens due to a buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that irritates your gums. If you have gingivitis, you might also notice red, swollen, or tender gums.

Believe it or not, brushing your teeth too hard can also lead to bleeding gums. While it’s important to be thorough, aggressive brushing can damage your delicate gum tissue. So, remember to brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

If you’re not a regular flosser, you might notice a bit of blood when you first start incorporating it into your routine. This is usually a sign that your gums are getting healthier, as flossing helps remove plaque and debris that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Another potential culprit is dry mouth. Saliva plays an important role in protecting your gums, and if you’re not producing enough, your gums can become more prone to irritation and bleeding.

Less common causes of blood in saliva can include certain medications, hormonal changes (especially during pregnancy), or underlying medical conditions.

When to Worry and See a Doctor

While a little bit of blood in your saliva from time to time isn’t usually a major cause for concern, there are some situations where it’s important to consult your doctor or dentist:

  • Persistent Bleeding: If you notice blood in your saliva regularly, even after improving your oral hygiene routine, it’s worth getting checked out. Persistent bleeding could indicate a more serious underlying issue.
  • Excessive Bleeding: If you’re seeing more than a few streaks or dots of blood, or if the bleeding is heavy, it’s time to seek medical attention.
  • Additional Symptoms: Pay attention to any other symptoms you might be experiencing. Unexplained bruising, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, or persistent sore throat could be signs of a more serious problem.
  • Underlying Conditions: In rare cases, blood in saliva can be a symptom of a blood clotting disorder, an infection, or even oral cancer. If you have any concerns, it’s always best to consult with a medical professional.

Remember, early detection is key when it comes to oral health. If you’re worried about blood in your saliva, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or dentist. They can help you determine the cause and recommend the best course of action.

Keeping Your Smile Healthy and Blood-Free

The good news is that in most cases, preventing blood in your saliva is entirely within your control. It all comes down to a few simple, healthy habits:

  • Brush and Floss Regularly: Brush your teeth gently twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you floss daily, as it removes plaque and food particles that your toothbrush can’t reach—helping to keep your gums healthy.
  • Visit Your Dentist: Regular dental checkups and cleanings are essential for maintaining a healthy mouth. Your dentist can catch early signs of gum disease and provide professional cleaning to remove any plaque or tartar buildup.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking lots of water throughout the day is not only good for your overall health, but it also helps ensure your mouth stays moist. Saliva plays a crucial role in protecting your gums, so staying hydrated is key.
  • Eat a Healthy Diet: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help promote excellent overall health, including oral health. Try to limit sugary drinks and snacks, as these can contribute to plaque buildup and gum disease.

By taking these steps, you can help keep your gums healthy and prevent bleeding. If you have any concerns about blood in your saliva, or if the bleeding is persistent, be sure to talk to your doctor or dentist.

When It’s More Than Just Saliva

While this article focuses on blood in saliva, it’s important to be aware that blood can appear in other bodily fluids from your mouth, and these situations might warrant more urgent attention:

  • Blood in Phlegm: If you cough up blood or notice streaks of blood in your mucus, it could be a sign of a respiratory infection, bronchitis, or in rare cases, a more serious condition like pneumonia or lung cancer.
  • Blood in Vomit: Vomiting blood can be a sign of several issues, ranging from irritation in the esophagus or stomach to ulcers, gastritis, or more severe gastrointestinal problems.

If you experience either of these situations, it’s important to seek medical attention promptly. Don’t try to self-diagnose, as these symptoms could indicate an underlying health issue that requires professional evaluation and treatment.

Keep Your Mouth Healthy

While finding blood in your saliva can be a bit unsettling, it’s often not a cause for major alarm. Simple things like brushing too hard or flossing for the first time can cause a little bleeding. However, it’s essential to pay attention to your body and know when to seek professional advice. Persistent or excessive bleeding, accompanied by other symptoms, should be evaluated by a doctor or dentist.

By practicing good oral hygiene, staying hydrated, and scheduling regular dental checkups, you can keep your gums healthy and minimize the chances of bleeding. Remember, a healthy mouth is a crucial part of overall well-being, so take care of your smile!

Smile Smarter,
Dr. Joyce

Logo(0) / Huffpost / - Dr. JoyceLogo(1) / Newsweek / - Dr. JoyceLogo(2) / Insider / - Dr. JoyceLogo(3) / Bustle / - Dr. JoyceLogo(4) / Mic / - Dr. JoyceLogo(5) / Well + Good / - Dr. JoyceLogo(6) / Popsugar / - Dr. JoyceLogo(7) / US News / - Dr. Joyce