What To Do When You Have Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums when brushing and flossing can be worrisome, so what can be causing your gums to bleed? There are many factors that can contribute to your bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, some are temporary and some are more concerning. Learning about the causes of these can help you better assess what you need to do.  


What can be causing your gums to bleed? Before making an appointment with the dentist, we recommend you assess and adjust some of the possibilities of why you might be bleeding. Common factors to bleeding gums are:

  • Plaque buildup along the gumline and in between the teeth  
  • Improper dental care and tools
  • Vitamin C or K deficiencies
  • Side effects of medication

Plaque Buildup

By not removing plaque in a timely manner, it can harden into tartar. This leads to gum irritation, bleeding, and into advanced forms of gum disease such as gingivitis or a more serious disease known as periodontitis. Flossing once a day or twice a day can help remove the plaque building up from the food we eat. Once plaque has become tartar you need to make an appointment with your dentist to remove it.

Improper Dental Care and Tools

If your gums are bleeding from brushing or flossing there could be a few things happening. Either you’re dental care regimen needs to change, or the tools you use are  too rough on your teeth and gums. When you floss and notice blood, it can mean you’re using vigorous, aggressive motions with the floss, you need to floss more often, or you’re brushing hard. Being gentle on your teeth when brushing and flossing can help ease the irritation you cause. If you are gentle and regularly brush and floss, you may want to change your medium or firm bristle toothbrush into a soft bristle one.

Unbalanced Diet

Eating a well-balanced diet is important not just for health but for our teeth. We need to have a diet rich in nutrients to keep our teeth and gums healthy. Not eating a meal rich in nutrients can cause vitamin deficiencies particularly vitamin C and K. These two vitamins are pivotal to your oral health since vitamin C is essential to keeping the connective tissues of your gum strong while vitamin K helps block substances from breaking down bone. Having deficiencies in these vitamins can weaken your gums and teeth making them loose and bleed increasing your risk of gum disease.

Medication Side Effects

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen are commonly known as blood thinners, which increase bleeding when you cut yourself. If you brush hard and begin to bleed you might bleed more than you should. Prescribed medication can even cause mild side effects like gum bleeding. Noticing if bleeding gums are a side effect of prescribed medication is reason enough to go see you primary doctor for new medication alternative to rule out medication as a possible reason to your bleeding.

What Do You Do?

Bleeding gums can be rinsed with warm salt water to kill bacteria around the infected area and keep it from spreading deeper into the gums and roots of the teeth. In addition to rinsing your mouth, applying pressure with gauze to stop the bleeding. Make sure your hands and gauze are clean to avoid increasing your infection.   

As I mentioned earlier, before booking an appointment with your dentist right away. try to eliminate some possible causes. Once you’ve eliminated some of the causes and there’s been no improvement in your condition, then make an appointment to see your dentist to get further examinations done.  

Keeping a regular dental check-up with your dentist every 6 months is your first line of defense for any oral or dental conditions from worsening. Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year and to be gentle during your oral hygiene. Healthy teeth and gums makes for a great smile. If you need to schedule an appointment for regular cleaning, call us at 801-747-8018.