Bleeding Gums: Why Do They Happen and What Can You Do About It?

Bleeding Gums when Brushing Teeth: What to do About it

If you’ve ever noticed that your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you’re not alone. It’s a common problem, and there are several reasons why it might happen. In this article, we’ll discuss the causes of bleeding gums and what you can do to prevent it. We’ll also cover some treatment options if the problem persists. So keep reading to learn more!

Why do my Gums Bleed When I Brush My Teeth?

When your gums bleed while brushing your teeth this is usually a sign that your gums are unhealthy. It can be caused by a number of things, including:

Inflamed Gums (Gingivitis)

Many people experience inflamed gums from time to time. This is commonly referred to as Gingivitis. The main signs of gingivitis are red, swollen and bleeding gums.

At first, gum inflammation may not cause any major problems. But if left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the periodontium (The soft tissue and bone that keep our teeth in place) and cause damage there.

The most common cause of Gingivitis is plaque. Plaque is a thin film of mostly bacteria that can develop where the tooth and gum meet. It may feel a bit “furry” when you run your tongue over it. The bacteria present in plaque feed off of the sugars found in food. When these bacteria produce waste, it can cause swollen gums.

You can get rid of plaque by cleaning your teeth properly at the gum line. For these reasons, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene habits. This means brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, as well as seeing your dentist for regular cleanings.

Serious Gum Infection (Periodontitis)

If gum inflammation is not treated, it can progress to a more serious infection called periodontitis. Periodontitis is an infection of the gums and bones that support your teeth. It can cause your gums to separate from your teeth, form deep pockets of infection, and eventually lead to tooth loss. In cases such as this, it is very common for plaque to harden into a substance called tartar.

As well as swollen and bleeding gums, periodontitis can also lead to sensitive teeth, receding gums (“long teeth”), sore gums, and bad breath.

If periodontitis has developed, bacterial plaque and hard tartar typically need to be removed, including those found below the gum line. This is known as scaling and root planing, or “deep cleaning.” If this treatment doesn’t prove effective, dentists may suggest surgery to clean the surface of the root.

Brushing Your Teeth Too Much

Yes, you can in fact brush your teeth too much and too hard. The first effect of brushing your teeth too much is damaging your gums. This causes microtrauma to your gums, leading to both bleeding and gum recession. If you continue to brush your teeth too hard, you could even permanently damage your teeth. In fact, it’s so important that we’ve created an entire article entitled “Can you brush your teeth too much” dedicated to this very topic.

To summarize that article it’s important to find a perfect balance between brushing too much, which damages your teeth, and too little, which leaves bacteria and food stuck in your teeth. This includes:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing at least once a day (recommended twice)
  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Using gentle circular motions
  • Using fluoride toothpaste
  • Not using abrasive toothpaste


Pregnancy can cause a number of changes in your body, including hormonal changes that make your gums more sensitive and susceptible to inflammation. This phenomenon is completely normal and shouldn’t be worried about to any great degree However, this is why it’s so important for pregnant women to take extra care of their oral hygiene.


Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to properly process sugar. This can cause a number of problems, one of which is an increased risk for gum disease. Studies have shown that people with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to keep your blood sugar levels under control. This will help reduce your risk for gum disease, as well as a number of other complications.

Medications that Cause Dry Mouth

Certain medications can cause your gums to become Dry (xerostomia), which makes them more susceptible to inflammation. These include some:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Antidepressants
  • Medications for high blood pressure

Medications that Cause Excessive Gum Growth (Gingival Hyperplasia)

Some medications can cause your gums to grow excessively (gingival hyperplasia). This can make it difficult to keep your teeth and gums clean, which can lead to gum disease. These medications include:

  • Phenytoin
  • Cyclosporine
  • Calcium channel blockers


Although this is extremely rare there are some cancers that cause spontaneous bleeding of the gums. This is because gums are extremely thing compared to skin. These include:

  • Leukemia
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist or doctor as soon as possible. While some of these causes are more serious than others, all of them can be treated with the proper care.


The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nothing on this website constitutes the practice of medicine, law or any other regulated profession.

No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.


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