When Should I be Concerned with Bleeding Gums?

Bleeding and irritated gums are a common issue. In fact, many adults in the United States notice some light bleeding once in a while after brushing or flossing. But bleeding gums can also be a sign of a more serious underlying health issue. So how do you know when you should be concerned with your bleeding gums? Below is more information on common causes of bleeding gums and how you should know when it is time to call your dentist.


What Causes Bleeding Gums?

There are a number of different things that can cause your gums to bleed. A few of the most common causes of bleeding gums include:

Aggressive teeth brushing: Many adults have a tendency to brush their teeth too aggressively. While the goal is to keep the teeth as clean as possible, the gums are made of sensitive tissue and brushing with too much force can irritate this tissue and cause swelling and bleeding. When brushing, you should focus on making circular motions, not side to side, to avoid damage to the gum tissue.

Wrong toothbrush: Brushing with a firm/hard bristle toothbrush may be too abrasive for the gums. A firm toothbrush may cause damage to the teeth’s enamel, or outer surface, and irritate the gums. If you are using a hard toothbrush, try switching to a softer brush and see if your gum health improves.


Incorrect flossing technique: The best way to floss is to gently work your way up and down the curve of each tooth. The wrong flossing technique can cause irritation, damage, or cause gum receding. If you think you may be flossing too aggressively, try being gentler and see if the bleeding improves.

Gum disease: Gum disease is one of the most common causes of tooth loss and a primary cause of bleeding gums. When plaque builds up along the gum line overtime it can cause gum disease. This plaque contains bacteria that irritates the gums, causing inflammation and bleeding. Fortunately, gum disease is a progressive condition and the early stages can be reversed with extra attention to daily hygiene and professional treatment.

When Should You Be Concerned With Your Bleeding Gums?

If you have noticed your gums are regularly bleeding after you floss or brush, you should consider calling your dental provider to schedule an appointment for an exam. If your gums are bleeding daily for 7-10 days, it is time to determine the cause and find a treatment. You should also let your dentist know if you have additional symptoms, such as bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth, as these are other symptoms of gum disease. To determine the cause of the bleeding, your dentist will complete a comprehensive exam and check the health of your gums. If you have early stage gum disease, your dentist will recommend you schedule a professional cleaning. Your dentist will likely also give you tips on how to treat your bleeding gums. If your dentist determines your gum disease is more advanced, they may advise you schedule further dental treatments in addition to a professional cleaning.

What Causes Bleeding Gums