Sore Gums & Vitamin Deficiency: 6 Key Vitamins & Supplements

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 10/12/2023

Maintaining adequate nutrient levels is essential for oral health, and sore gums are often a sign of vitamin deficiency.

Discover common nutritional deficiencies linked to gum infections and learn how to reduce gum bleeding quickly.  

Woman with sore gums

The role of nutrients in oral health

Nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy gum tissue, and a nutritional deficiency can quickly lead to bleeding and receding gums, a primary risk factor for tooth decay and other oral health problems.  

Your gums undergo a continuous process of repair and maintenance, and several nutrients are involved in the synthesis of collagen, a critical structural component that helps keep gum tissue attached to your teeth. 

Lack of adequate nutrients can weaken gums, making them more susceptible to damage and infection and an increased risk of gum disease.   

In addition, essential vitamins are crucial in supporting the immune system. Your gums are constantly exposed to potentially harmful bacteria and other microbes in your mouth, and a strong immune response is essential to prevent gum infections.

Watch the video below to discover the most common nutritional deficiency linked to sore gums. 

Six nutrient deficiencies related to sore gums

It’s well-known that good oral hygiene is crucial for healthy teeth and gums. However, maintaining adequate nutrient stores is an often overlooked aspect of oral health. 

Here are six nutrient deficiencies linked to sore and swollen gums.

1. Vitamin C deficiency 

Vitamin C deficiency has long been recognized to impair the integrity of connective tissues, including gum tissue.  

Lack of adequate vitamin C slows down collagen production, resulting in weak and receding gums that are susceptible to infection and bleeding.   

If you take a vitamin C supplement and still suffer from sore gums, it’s best to check if you are taking synthetic ascorbic acid, the worst type of vitamin C, which is largely ineffective as it lacks crucial cofactors. 

A naturally derived vitamin C complex that contains vitamin K, copper, and factors P and J is significantly more effective in preventing vitamin C deficiency than ascorbic acid. 

2. Vitamin D deficiency 

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system, and deficiency can lower your body’s ability to eliminate potentially harmful bacteria linked to the breakdown of tooth enamel, gum infections, and mouth ulcers. 

A study published in The National Library of Medicine found that “vitamin D deficiencies are associated with dental caries and a higher prevalence of periodontitis and gingival inflammation.” 

Vitamin D also enhances intestinal calcium absorption and a lack of adequate vitamin D is directly linked to calcium deficiency, which can weaken your teeth and ultimately lead to tooth loss.

Man with sore gums

3. Vitamin K deficiency 

Vitamin K regulates blood clotting and wound healing, and a deficiency may result in excessive gum bleeding. 

In addition, vitamin D3 and K2 benefit oral health by regulating calcium balance, which helps maintain strong teeth.

4. Vitamin A 

Vitamin A is essential for maintaining mucous membranes, which line your gums and the inside of your mouth. 

Vitamin A deficiency can cause these membranes to become dry and thin, which increases the risk of gum tissue damage, infection, and bleeding. 

5. Vitamin B3 deficiency

Vitamin B3, also known as niacin, plays a vital role in keeping blood vessels healthy, and a deficiency can weaken blood vessels within gum tissue and increase the risk of bleeding. 

6. Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency 

Omega-3 fatty acids—particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—have potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Research published by The American Dietetic Association found that inflammation is a key factor in gum diseases, and an omega-3 deficiency can lead to overt inflammatory responses, potentially increasing the risk of gingivitis and periodontitis.  

Ketogenic foods

Preventing nutrient deficiency 

Preventing nutrient deficiencies is crucial to maintaining overall oral health and can significantly improve gum issues. 

Processed foods typically lack nutrients, and refined carbs and sugar can deplete essential vitamins and minerals

Healthy Keto® is an ideal meal plan that limits carbs and sugars while focusing on nutrient-rich foods such as grass-fed beef, pasture-raised eggs, wild-caught fish and game meats, nuts, seeds, organic vegetables, berries, and dairy products.     

Grass-fed butter, oily fish, cod liver, egg yolks, organ meats, and dairy products are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B3, and fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, and K. 

While fruits are often hailed as the best sources of vitamin C, they also can be high in carbs, one of the top dietary causes linked to inflammation and nutrient deficiencies. 

Low-carb citrus fruits such as lemons and limes, bell peppers, tomatoes, and leafy green vegetables, including spinach, arugula, kale, and mustard greens, are incredibly rich in vitamin C and can help heal sore gums quickly. 

In addition, research published in the European Journal of Dentistry suggests that probiotics can help reduce potentially harmful microbes in the mouth, thereby supporting healthy gums.

Sauerkraut, kefir, natto, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and fermented cheeses are rich dietary sources of probiotics.   

Dietary supplements

The role of supplements in preventing nutrient deficiencies

"Many factors influence the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, and deficiencies can develop despite consuming plenty of nutrient-rich foods," explains Dr. Berg.  


Individuals with dietary restrictions due to food allergies, malabsorption issues caused by gastrointestinal disorders such as celiac disease, or low stomach acid, and those with gallbladder issues are at increased risk of nutritional deficiencies and may benefit from taking supplements. 

To maximize the benefits of vitamin supplements, choose high-quality products such as vitamin C supplements containing a natural vitamin C complex and vitamin D supplements made with vitamin D3 instead of vitamin D2.  

Dental consultation

When to see a periodontist

Many cases of swollen gums are linked to a lack of adequate nutrients and typically resolve when deficiencies are addressed and managed through diet or supplementation. 

However, persistently swollen or bleeding gums may indicate periodontal disease or other potential underlying oral health issues, and consulting a periodontist is crucial to avoid tooth loss. 

It’s recommended to seek periodontal care if you experience symptoms such as:

  • Persistently tender and bleeding gums 

  • Toothaches 

  • Deep gum pockets 

  • Recurring mouth ulcers 

  • Loose teeth 

Man with healthy gums

Key takeaways

Healthy gums rely on adequate nutrient stores, and nutritional deficiencies can weaken gum tissue, which increases the risk of bleeding and tender gums. 

Lack of adequate vitamins B3, C, A, D, and K are common sore gums vitamin deficiencies linked to periodontal disease and even tooth loss. 

Consuming plenty of nutrient-rich foods such as grass-fed beef, pasture-raised eggs, wild-caught fish and game meats, organic vegetables, and dairy products promotes healthy nutrient stores and can help improve sore gums.   

Additional vitamin K resources


1. Can vitamin deficiency cause inflamed gums?

Yes, vitamin deficiencies can cause inflamed gum tissue. Gum tissue undergoes constant repair and renewal processes, which require several nutrients. 

Lack of omega-3 fatty acids and deficiencies in vitamins C, B3, A, D, and K can cause weak and dry gum tissue prone to bleeding, infection, and inflammation. 

2. Can vitamin C deficiency cause bleeding gums?

Vitamin C deficiency is directly linked to bleeding gums. Vitamin C plays a vital role in collagen production, a crucial protein needed for the structural integrity of gum tissue. 

Lack of vitamin C is linked to tender and receding gums and has been found to increase the risk of periodontal disease.  

3. How much vitamin C for sore gums?

General recommendations suggest a daily vitamin C intake of 100 to 200 mg to support healthy vitamin C levels and improve gum bleeding. 

4. Can low vitamin D cause sore gums?

Yes, vitamin D deficiency can cause sore gums. Vitamin D regulates immune function, and deficiency can increase the risk of dental infections linked to gum inflammation, mouth ulcers, and periodontal disease. 

5. How much vitamin D3 for inflamed gums?

Most healthcare providers suggest 600 IU of vitamin D daily. However, larger doses of 5,000 to 10,000 IU daily may be needed to correct a deficiency and resolve vitamin-D-related gum issues. 


6. What oral hygiene practices can help prevent gum inflammation and disease?

Daily brushing and flossing to reduce plaque and regular dental check-ups help maintain healthy gum tissue and can prevent gum inflammation and periodontal disease, a leading cause of tooth loss. 

7. What foods can help improve gum health?

Limiting processed foods and refined carbs and focusing on nutrient-rich options such as grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish and game meat, pasture-raised eggs, dairy products, and organic vegetables supports healthy nutrient stores and can help improve sore gums quickly. 

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