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Bleeding Gums: Causes, symptoms & treatments

Written by Dr. Rodi Dirki | Medically reviewed by Editorial Team
Last updated on: May 20, 2024

Bleeding gums are a common oral health issue that affects people of all ages. Whether it’s noticed during brushing, flossing, or even spontaneously, the sight of blood can be alarming. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for bleeding gums is crucial for maintaining good oral health and preventing more serious dental conditions down the line.

What are bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums occur when the delicate tissues surrounding the teeth become inflamed and irritated, leading to blood loss during activities such as brushing, flossing, or eating. While occasional bleeding may not always indicate a serious problem, persistent or excessive bleeding should never be ignored and may require professional attention.

Dental conditions that can cause bleeding gums-


One of the primary causes of bleeding gums is gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease characterized by inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is often the result of poor oral hygiene habits that allow plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—to accumulate along the gumline. Over time, this plaque buildup can irritate the gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and prone to bleeding.

Without proper treatment, gingivitis can progress to a more serious condition known as periodontitis, which can lead to irreversible damage to the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible with prompt intervention, including improved oral hygiene and professional dental cleanings.


Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that occurs when untreated gingivitis progresses to involve the deeper structures supporting the teeth, including the bone and ligaments. In addition to bleeding gums, symptoms of periodontitis may include persistent bad breath, receding gums, loose teeth, and changes in the way the teeth fit together when biting.

Periodontitis requires comprehensive treatment from a dental professional to halt the progression of the disease and prevent further damage to the gums and supporting tissues. Treatment may involve scaling and root planing—a deep cleaning procedure to remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline—along with antibiotics or surgical intervention in severe cases.

Vitamin deficiencies

In addition to gum disease, bleeding gums can also be caused by deficiencies in essential vitamins and nutrients, particularly vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a critical role in maintaining the health of the gums and other connective tissues in the body. A deficiency in this vitamin can weaken the gums, making them more susceptible to inflammation and bleeding.

Individuals who have a poor diet or certain medical conditions that affect nutrient absorption may be at an increased risk of developing vitamin deficiencies. Incorporating vitamin-rich foods into the diet or taking supplements under the guidance of a healthcare professional can help address these deficiencies and improve gum health.

Other causes of bleeding gums-

In addition to dental conditions and vitamin deficiencies, several other factors can contribute to bleeding gums, including:

Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during pregnancy or puberty, can increase blood flow to the gums, making them more prone to bleeding.

Medications: Certain medications, such as blood thinners or anticoagulants, can interfere with the body’s ability to form blood clots, leading to increased bleeding from the gums.

Smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for gum disease and can impair blood flow to the gums, making them more susceptible to infection and bleeding.

Improper brushing or flossing techniques: Aggressive brushing or flossing can damage the delicate gum tissues, leading to bleeding. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle, circular motions can help prevent irritation and bleeding.

Identifying and addressing the underlying cause of bleeding gums is essential for effective treatment and prevention of further complications. In many cases, improving oral hygiene habits and addressing risk factors such as smoking, or vitamin deficiencies can help alleviate symptoms and restore gum health.

Bleeding gums treatment-

Treatment for bleeding gums depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. In mild cases, improving oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly, may be sufficient to reduce inflammation and bleeding. Using an antiseptic mouthwash can also help kill bacteria and promote gum health.

For more advanced cases of gum disease, professional dental treatment may be necessary. This may include:

Professional dental cleanings: A dental hygienist can remove plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and gums, reducing inflammation and promoting healing.

Scaling and root planing: This deep cleaning procedure removes plaque and tartar from below the gumline and smooths the root surfaces to prevent bacteria from reattaching.

Antibiotic therapy: In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to help control bacterial infection and reduce inflammation in the gums.

Surgical intervention: In severe cases of gum disease, surgical procedures such as gum grafting or pocket reduction surgery may be necessary to restore gum health and prevent further damage to the teeth and supporting structures.

The takeaway-

Bleeding gums should never be ignored, as they can be a sign of underlying dental problems that require professional attention. Maintaining good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing regularly, is essential for preventing gum disease and other oral health issues. Additionally, addressing risk factors such as smoking, poor nutrition, and hormonal changes can help reduce the risk of bleeding gums and promote overall gum health.

If you notice bleeding gums or other signs of gum disease, such as redness, swelling, or persistent bad breath, it’s essential to seek prompt evaluation and treatment from a dental professional. With proper care and treatment, you can protect your gums and preserve your smile for years to come.

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