Why do gums bleed?

Why do gums bleed?

Let’s be honest, bleeding is not pleasant. If we find blood oozing from our gums , definitely something is going on. The bleeding is usually noticed during, or following, toothbrushing or eating. When bleeding occurs spontaneously , the patient , may complain of tasting blood on awakening in the morning.

  • Improper brushing – Overzealous brushing of the teeth or using hard bristles’ toothbrush may hurt the gums and bleeding may occur.

Use of soft bristled brush, applying gentle force and changing tooth brush every three months.

  • Injury or trauma — This cause may be due to insertion or blowing of an object or foreign substance or improper use of floss. Gums may also be injured due to irritation caused by chemicals or acids in foods and drinks.
  • Poor oral hygiene. — Gums may bleed when they get inflamed and this occurs when we fail to keep our oral cavity clean. A lot of people don’t brush or floss properly and this leads to build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. The gums get irritated and become red, swollen and painful. The gums may then bleed at the slightest provocation. Plaque induced gingivitis is the most common form of the disease.

What is Plaque? It is a sticky material that develops on the exposed portions of the teeth, consisting of bacteria, saliva, and food debris. If plaque accumulates on the tooth, it solidifies into tartar – a hard white substance that forms around the base of the teeth. And tartar makes plaque more difficult to remove. The longer plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva and thus gingivitis occurs.

  • Hormonal and pregnancy changes — Sometimes, gum bleed due to poor oral hygiene, infection and weakness and by the hormonal changes during puberty or early adulthood. Once it develops , gingivitis may persists or recur throughout life. 🙁

    Solution: Regular dental check-ups and maintenance of a proper hygiene (brushing, flossing and mouthwash)

  • Crooked or mal-positioned teeth– This may make cleaning teeth very difficult through routine brushing and may lead to gum bleeding. The crooked teeth can also lead to food getting trapped between two teeth. This again causes the gum to become inflamed and bleed easily.

    Solution: Orthodontic treatment with / without extraction.

  • Vitamin Deficiency — Lack of vitamins such as C and K can lead to gum bleeding

    Solution: Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Sources of Vitamin C are peppers, oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, broccoli and brussel sprouts.

    The best sources of vitamin K include leafy green vegetables, which can provide up to three times the recommended daily allowance in just one serving. Other vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are good sources as well.

  • Other reasons why gums bleed may not be of dental origin but a sign of systemic disease or due to medications.
  • Bleeding disorders–There is a whole array of bleeding disorders – genetic and of unknown origin (idiopathic) – including thrombocytopenic purpura, Von Willebrand’s disease etc. which increases our general propensity for bleeding. These may first manifest through bleeding from gums. Medications– Certain medications such as aspirin, clopidogrel etc. which are given to patients at risk of heart attacks or stroke, drugs given for epilepsy, cancer chemotherapy etc. may cause the gums to bleed.Liver disease– Your liver is a very important organ which produces a lot of factors which once again form a major part of the clotting process in our bodies. So any kind of liver disease or chronic alcoholism which disturbs liver metabolism may lead to bleeding gums.Cancers– Certain types of cancers such as leukaemia (a blood cancer) or multiple myeloma (a bone marrow cancer) may cause our gums to bleed.
  • So, the next time, someone is complaining about bleeding of gums, the best is not to ignore it and send the latter to a dentist and we will assess the treatment plan.


Bleeding gums aren’t always a symptom of gum disease, though that’s the most common reason they occur. Bleeding gums can be a symptom of other medical issues having nothing to do with your dental hygiene. If you suspect your bleeding gums are related to something other than poor brushing and flossing habits, see your doctor to discuss ways to address the problem. Bleeding gums can be related to the following conditions:
  • Diabetes, Heart disease, Clotting disorders, Cancer ,Scurvy , Blood thinning medications ,Genetic factors

Apart from these causes listed above, there may be more causes like tobacco usage, stress, radiation therapy, HIV etc. which may all lead to gum disease and eventual bleeding from gums.

Tips for healthy gums:

Eat a healthy diet. Gums, like the rest of your body’s tissues, are affected by the vitamins and nutrients you take in. If you eat loads of sugar and flour-based items and not a lot of fruits, veggies and nutritionally dense food, your gums will suffer for it. For improved oral health, please try the following:

  • Cut back on sugar. Eating a lot of sugar causes tartar to build up fast – faster than you can brush or floss it away. Cutting back should help your gums heal quickly.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, like kale, mangoes, broccoli and grapefruit.
  • Eat high-calcium foods like spinach and dairy products.

Avoid smoking.
Smoking is very detrimental to oral health. The toxins in cigarettes and other tobacco produces can lead to gum inflammation and disease. In fact, smokers are six times more likely to develop serious gum disease than nonsmokers.
Smoking actually lowers the success rate of gum disease treatments.

Drink a lot of water. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day can help keep your gums and mouth healthy. Drinking water rinses bacteria from your teeth and helps prevent the buildup of plaque. Replace your sugary drinks, coffee and tea with water as much as you can.


4 thoughts on “Why do gums bleed?”

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    1. Dr. Nesha Mohabeer

      Thank you for your input. However when you click on topics, you will find Facebook Linked In and other social network platforms’ plugins which will allow users to share accordingly. I will add the autopilot feature. Thank you Marylou. Bless you

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