You are currently viewing My Gums Bleed When I Brush My Teeth. Why Is That?

  Medically Reviewed by Dr. Charles Dennis, DMD, on July 03, 2024

We’ve all been there – you’re brushing your teeth, and suddenly, you notice blood in the sink. It can be alarming and leave you wondering if something is seriously wrong. While occasional gum bleeding isn’t uncommon, persistent bleeding is a sign that something needs your attention. In this blog, we’ll explore why your gums might bleed when you brush your teeth and provide practical tips to keep your gums healthy and strong.

8 Common Causes of Bleeding Gums

Experiencing bleeding gums can be a worrying sign, but understanding the common causes can help you address the issue properly. Here are eight reasons why your gums might bleed when you brush your teeth:

1. Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, marked by inflammation of the gums. It happens when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, builds up on the teeth and gums. The bacteria release toxins that irritate the gums, causing them to become red, swollen, and prone to bleeding, especially during brushing and flossing.

2. Poor Oral Hygiene

Neglecting proper oral hygiene is a major contributor to gum bleeding. Not brushing and flossing well allows plaque and food particles to stay on the teeth and gums, leading to irritation and inflammation. Over time, this can cause the gums to become sensitive and bleed easily.

3. Plaque and Tartar

Plaque that is not removed through regular brushing and flossing can harden into tartar, a calcified substance that sticks to the teeth and gumline. Tartar is more difficult to remove and can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, become inflamed, and bleed. Professional dental cleanings are necessary to remove tartar and prevent gum disease.

4. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can make gums more sensitive and prone to bleeding. Increased hormone levels can boost blood flow to the gums, making them more likely to get irritated and inflamed in response to plaque.

5. Medications and Medical Conditions

Certain medications, such as blood thinners, antihypertensives, and immunosuppressants, can increase the likelihood of gum bleeding. Medical conditions like diabetes, leukemia, and autoimmune disorders can also affect gum health, making them more vulnerable to bleeding and infection.

6. Smoking

Smoking and tobacco use have a harmful effect on gum health. The toxins in tobacco reduce blood flow to the gums, weaken the immune response, and slow down the healing process. Smokers are more likely to develop gum disease, which can cause their gums to bleed easily.

7. Diet

A diet lacking key nutrients, particularly vitamin C and vitamin K, can weaken gum tissue and make it more prone to bleeding. Sugary and acidic foods can also promote plaque formation, leading to gum irritation and inflammation.

8. Stress

Stress can take a toll on your overall health, including your gums. High stress levels can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off infections, including those affecting your gums. Stress can also lead to poor oral hygiene habits, further worsening gum problems.

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How to Stop Bleeding Gums

If you’re experiencing bleeding gums, and still aren’t sure what the cause may be, there are several steps you can take to improve your overall gum health. Here are some practical tips to help stop bleeding gums:

Improve Your Oral Hygiene Routine

The first step in stopping bleeding gums is maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, using gentle circular motions to avoid irritating your gums. Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along the gumline.

Use an Antibacterial Mouthwash

Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce plaque and bacteria in your mouth, which can minimize gum irritation and bleeding. Choose a mouthwash that contains ingredients like chlorhexidine or essential oils, and use it as directed on the label.

Schedule Regular Dental Check-Ups

Regular dental visits are necessary for maintaining healthy gums. Your dentist can perform professional cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup that you may not be able to eliminate with brushing and flossing alone. They can also identify and treat any early signs of gum disease before it progresses.

Avoid Tobacco Products

Smoking and using other tobacco products can severely impact your gum health and increase the likelihood of bleeding. Quitting tobacco can significantly improve your overall oral health and reduce gum bleeding. If you need help quitting, speak with your dentist or doctor for support and resources.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and vitamin K, can strengthen your gums and improve their health. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet, and limit sugary and acidic foods that can contribute to plaque buildup.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps keep your mouth clean and hydrated. Water can wash away food particles and bacteria, reducing the risk of plaque formation and gum irritation.

Manage Stress

High stress levels can weaken your immune system and affect your oral health. Practice stress-reducing activities such as exercise, meditation, and deep breathing to help maintain your overall health and reduce gum bleeding.

Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

A soft-bristled toothbrush is gentle on your gums and can help prevent further irritation and bleeding. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.

Consider Changing Medications

If you suspect that your medications are causing your gums to bleed, talk to your doctor or dentist. They may be able to adjust your dosage or switch you to a different medication that won’t affect your gums.

Receive Professional Advice on Gum Care from Your Local Dentist in Clarks Summit, PA

If you’re experiencing continued gum bleeding or have concerns about your oral health, it’s important to consult with a dental professional. At Abington Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Clarks Summit, PA, our expert team is dedicated to providing the best dental care tailored to your needs. Contact us today to receive personalized advice and treatment for healthier gums and a brighter smile.


Bleeding gums can be a sign of several underlying issues, from poor oral hygiene to more serious conditions like gum disease. By understanding the common causes and taking active steps to improve your gum health, you can prevent and stop gum bleeding. Remember, regular dental visits are necessary for maintaining healthy gums, so don’t hesitate to seek professional advice and care.

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