Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

One of the most common questions posed to dentists is, “Why are my gums bleeding?” Millions of Americans experience some degree of bleeding from their gums during their lifetime, and the experience can be understandably worrisome.

While some people may notice a pink tinge to their spit or saliva after brushing their teeth, others may notice bleeding taking place at other times of the day, such as during eating. Regardless of the circumstances, bleeding gums should be evaluated by a licensed Houston dentist as soon as possible to help avoid the potential progression to periodontal disease.

Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

There can be somewhat benign reasons for bleeding gums, but there are also more serious reasons. For many people, the condition can arise from:

  • Flossing for the first time or the first time in a while. For those that are not accustomed to flossing, it is possible that the gums will bleed the first several times. If this persists more than two weeks or your gums begin to bleed at other times, make an appointment to have your gums evaluated by a licensed Houston dentist.
  • Overzealous brushing of the teeth. While it is essential for people to brush their teeth daily, it is important not to brush too forcefully or with too firm of a toothbrush bristle. Overzealous brushing of the teeth could in some cases lead to bleeding gums or even gum recession.
  • It is not uncommon for the gums to bleed after they have experienced some sort of trauma such as a sports injury or a fall. In cases like these, it typically begins following the inciting incident.
  • When plaque gathers and builds along the gumline and goes unaddressed, it may result in gums that are tender and swollen and that will bleed during proper brushing or flossing. This is otherwise known as gingivitis. If this condition is not treated promptly, it could lead to periodontal disease.
  • Periodontal disease. Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease can cause bleeding of the gums and eventually destroy proper bone support for teeth. When not treated in a timely manner it could eventually result in the loss of teeth.
  • Unbalanced diet. A poor diet may also be a contributing factor to why your gums are bleeding. When the body does not receive the proper balance of vegetables, fruit, vitamins, and nutrients, it may result in the gums becoming red and irritated, or even bleeding.
  • Hormonal fluctuations experienced during pregnancy. Pregnant women often experience hormonal changes during pregnancy that can alter how their body responds to oral bacteria. The result can be red and swollen gums that may bleed with daily oral hygiene practices.
  • Certain medications like those used to thin the blood and reduce clotting could also be contributing to why your gums are bleeding. Make sure to share a complete list of the medications you are or have been taking for the last six months and share that list with your dentist.
  • Denture wear. People who wear dentures that are not professionally customized could have such an improper fit that the dentures wear on the gums, eventually causing both sores and bleeding.
  • Other medical conditions such as stress, herpes, diabetes, anemia, certain types of cancer, and HIV. It is important to let the dentist know if you have any of these conditions and alert your doctor, especially if prompted by the dentist.

Other conditions that often accompany bleeding gums include bad breath, ulcers and/or sores, inflamed gums, discomfort, and tooth sensitivity.

Perhaps the most important takeaway for people experiencing bleeding of the gums is the importance of having their oral health evaluated by a professional Houston dentist as soon as possible. During dental examinations, x-rays, and more, a dentist should be able to tell the patient what they suspect is causing the condition.

This step is critical to both diagnosis and treatment. Without a proper diagnosis, treatments cannot be customized for the patient, which could lead to a more serious future prognosis. If you experience bleeding gums for up to two weeks or more, it is important to make an appointment with a reputable dentist.

How Bleeding Gums May Be Treated

How a licensed Houston dentist treats a person’s bleeding gums depends heavily on what is causing the condition. For example, an injury that knocks out one or more teeth often comes with bleeding. In this situation, the dentist’s efforts are strictly reactive since the bleeding likely started suddenly as a result of the injury.

Most other conditions are due to one or more of the above causes and may include treatments such as:

  1. Committal to an improved daily oral hygiene routine. Proper daily oral hygiene includes brushing twice daily, once in the morning and again before bedtime, and flossing daily. Be sure to use a toothbrush with relatively soft bristles. Finish with a saltwater rinse and antibacterial mouthwash.
  2. Taking antibiotics as prescribed by a dentist to ward off potentially dangerous infection. Should your situation require antibiotics to address an infection, the dentist will prescribe them to you after a proper dental examination.
  3. Having tooth scaling and root planing procedures. This is a form of deep cleaning that goes much further than the traditional cleanings most patients receive. This type of intense cleaning may take more than just one visit to scrape the plaque from teeth and pockets between the gums and teeth.
  4. Undergoing laser treatment. Fortunately, modern dentistry involves laser treatment for bleeding gums. Laser surgery is often preferred by patients rather than more traditional surgery methods because it is less invasive and typically requires much less downtime to recover.

What May Help Prevent the Gums from Bleeding

While some medical conditions or injuries can cause gum bleeding, there are steps people can take to help prevent their gums from bleeding.

Brushing your teeth daily is key for maintaining good oral health. Make sure that the bristles of your toothbrush are angled at 45 degrees to the gumline. Take care to brush all of your teeth, but do so without being overly vigorous as that can irritate the gums and may cause bleeding. Daily flossing is also important. Together these practices work to protect the health of your teeth and gums. Some dentists may also suggest using a mouth wash.

Be sure to make regular visits to the dentist. Most experts suggest going to the dentist every six months for a thorough exam and professional teeth cleaning, which may also be accompanied by x-rays. This allows the dentist to scrape away stubborn plaque and check for problem areas. Keeping with this practice twice a year helps dentists monitor any changes that may be taking place (such as bleeding gums) so that they can be addressed in a timely manner.

Lastly, your diet can play a significant role in protecting your gum health. This typically includes cutting down on the consumption of processed and sugary foods such as sodas, cookies, cakes, candy, and chips. By incorporating nutrient rich foods such as fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, it may help your oral health.


If you start proper prevention techniques early enough and are committed to them, you may not need to ask the question, “Why are my gums bleeding?” However, if you are experiencing persistent bleeding of the gums, make an appointment with a reputable Houston dentist right away.