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What Does it Mean When Your Gums are Bleeding?

  • June 26, 2017

infographic on bleeding gumsTypically, the first response to noticing that you’re bleeding is worry. Blood often means something isn’t right. It is natural to be alarmed if you notice your gums bleed.

There are multiple reasons as to why your gums may be bleeding, but the three most common reasons include improper teeth brushing and flossing and gum disease.

Improper Tooth Brushing

Brushing harder and faster usually means a deeper, more noticeable clean. When it comes to brushing your teeth, however, this is not the case. Brushing hard and vigorously, using a hard-bristled toothbrush can scratch and cut your gums, as well as scrape off some of the enamel on your teeth.

Correct tooth brushing involves gentle, circular motions that resemble a massage. Brushing for two minutes, twice a day, using a soft to medium toothbrush is the best dental hygiene practice you can do at home.

Incorrect Flossing

Flossing can take time and may be tedious. Many patients forgo this important component of good dental hygiene because they are either scared of hurting their gums or they don’t want to deal with the time or hassle of flossing.

It is common for patients to practice incorrect flossing techniques in order to get the flossing done quicker. This incorrect method involves forcing the floss down between teeth in a way that tears, cuts and injures the gums, causing them to bleed.

The correct flossing method involves gently sliding the dental floss between teeth, following the edge of each tooth.

If you don’t regularly floss, your gums may bleed some after you floss, even if you practice good flossing techniques.

Canker Sores

Gums, like other soft tissue of the body can be subjected to develop sores. Canker sores as well as sores due to infection can cause the gums to be inflamed, sensitive and prone to bleeding.

Those receiving chemotherapy may experience the side effect called stomatitis, where painful ulcers and sores develop in the mouth, including on the gums.


Some women experience bleeding gums shortly before their monthly period, during puberty and during pregnancy. Female hormones can affect the gums, making them more sensitive, inflamed and likely to bleed.

Use of Tobacco

The harsh chemicals in tobacco products can irritate gums and lead to the development of painful infections, sores or ulcers on the gums which are more likely to bleed.

Gum Disease

If your gums are inflamed and sensitive as well as bleeding, it may very well be that you have gum disease.

Gum disease, unfortunately is a common occurrence in many adults. The vast majority of those with gum disease have the less severe version, called gingivitis. Patients with gingivitis typically don’t experience much pain or discomfort in their gums. This mild form of gum disease can be easily stopped and reversed when caught early and treated.

A small percentage of adults with gum disease have the more severe type called periodontitis. The swelling, inflammation and bleeding of the gums is noticeable and uncomfortable. In some cases, it is painful. This more severe type of gum disease can still be stopped and treated, but in many cases, the damage to the teeth may have already been done. The most advanced cases of periodontics can result in the loss of teeth. More invasive dental treatment is required to halt this advanced stage of gum disease.

Periodontists is usually the result of gingivitis that goes untreated.

There are many possible reasons as to why your gums may be bleeding. It can be something as simple as incorrect dental hygiene practices to something more serious as gum disease.

If you’ve been noticing your gums have been bleeding and you don’t know why, contact us at Historic Triangle Dental Care immediately to schedule an appointment with one of our dental professionals.


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