5 Reasons Why Your Gums are Bleeding

Have you started to notice that your spit looks pink or red after you brush your teeth? Or that your dental floss is decorated with red or pink marks? Possibly, you’ve even noticed that biting into an apple leaves behind red marks. If you have been noticing any of these “red” flags, then you should make an appointment with your dentist. Even though bleeding gums are not an emergency situation, you should still have your dentist examine your gums to determine what is causing them to bleed. While only your dentist will be able to diagnose the exact cause, here are five possible reasons why your gums are bleeding: 

Gum Disease

bleeding gums

By far the most common reason that gums bleed is due to gum disease. Gum disease can occur when excess plaque and bacteria build up along the gum line and cause the tissue to become infected. There are two forms of gum disease including gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the milder form of the two and one of its key signs are bleeding gums. It can also cause the gums to be swollen, tender, and red. When caught early, gingivitis can be reversed with treatment. However, gingivitis can also progress into the more advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis when not treated. Periodontitis is not reversible and will need to be carefully managed to prevent tooth loss. 

Aggressive Brushing or Flossing

Another possible reason why your gums are bleeding is due to an aggressive brushing or flossing technique. Many people think that scrubbing their teeth or vigorously flossing will help them to remove more plaque and tartar. Unfortunately this is not the case since plaque is soft and can easily be removed. Tartar, on the other hand, can only be removed by your dentist using special tools and won’t come off no matter how hard you scrub. In the end, aggressive brushing and flossing techniques only damages your enamel, causes your gums to recede, and can make your gums bleed. If you try brushing lighter and your gums stop bleeding, this could be the reason why they were bleeding in the first place. 


tablets spilling out of prescription bottle

It is an unfortunate fact that certain medications used to treat other health conditions can affect your oral health. In fact, certain medications can also be a possible reason why your gums are bleeding. For example, people who are on blood thinners are more likely to experience bleeding gums as a side effect of the medication. These medications can include: warfarin, aspirin, and heparin. Sometimes adjustments can be made to your medication to help alleviate this side effect, so be sure to mention bleeding gums to your primary care provider in addition to your dentist. 


Another reason why your gums may be bleeding is due to pregnancy. This is because many women experience pregnancy gingivitis due to hormonal changes that makes the body more sensitive to inflammation. Like regular gingivitis, this can cause swelling, tenderness, and red gums. If you are pregnant and have bleeding gums, it is recommended to see your dentist as soon as possible since pregnancy gingivitis can lead to problems with pregnancy and delivery. 

Oral Hygiene Changes

The final reason why your gums are bleeding could be simply because you have made changes in your oral hygiene routine. One common example of this is not flossing and then starting to floss again. When you don’t floss regularly, your gums may bleed for the first week until they adapt to being flossed again. Another example of this is gums that bleed when you switch to a new toothbrush. This can happen because the new toothbrush may be stiffer than the old toothbrush and your gums may need time to adapt. 


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Dr. Sanket Upadhyay


Dr. Sanket completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree in India in 2011 and obtained his Canadian dental license in 2016. He is a member in good standing with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, the Ontario Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Sanket regularly pursues continuing education through dental conferences and courses to enhance his knowledge and be at the forefront of advances in dentistry.

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