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Vitamin C deficiency symptoms: Bleeding gums when brushing teeth is a sign

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Vitamin C has various functions in the human body, including helping to protect cells and maintaining healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage. The essential vitamin also helps wounds to heal quickly and properly. A lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy – which is the medical term given to a severe deficiency in vitamin C. The condition is rare as most people get enough vitamin C in their diet, according to the NHS, but if you are lacking vitamin C for a period of at least three months, you could be at risk.

According to MedExpress doctor Clare Morrison, one common symptom of vitamin C deficiency is bleeding gums when brushing your teeth.

According to the NHS, this can also be accompanied by swelling of the gums or even tooth loss.

Bleeding gums when brushing your teeth is also an early sign of gum disease – gum disease is unrelated to vitamin C deficiency but also requires medical attention.

“You should make an appointment to see your dentist if your gums are painful, swollen or if they bleed when you brush your teeth,” said the NHS.

Other symptoms of scurvy include feeling tired and weak all the time, feeling irritable and sad, and experiencing severe joint or leg pain.

Developing red or blue spots on the skin, usually on the shins, and having skin that bruises easily are also signs.

Scurvy is easily treated by adding vitamin C to your diet, notes the NHS, or you may be advised to take supplements until symptoms improve.

Vitamin C is found in oranges and orange juice, red and green peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, sprouts and potatoes.

According to the NHS, adults between the ages of 19 and 64 need 40mg of vitamin C per day.

“You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from your daily diet. Vitamin C can’t be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day,” said the health body.

If you take vitamin C supplements, don’t take too much as it could cause stomach pain, diarrhoea and flatulence.

Taking less than 1,000mg of vitamin C supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm, advises the NHS.

Although scurvy is rare, you could be at risk if you are on a restrictive diet with few or no source of vitamin C.

Smoking also reduces how much vitamin C the body absorbs and when combined wth a poor diet can raise the risk of deficiency.

In addition, people with severe digestive conditions like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are also more at risk.

“Most people treated for scurvy feel better within 48 hours and make a full recovery within two weeks,” said the NHS.

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