Bleeding Gums Oral Care

Reasons For Bleeding Gums

While most causes of bleeding gums are easy to treat and take care of, it should not be taken too lightly.

Do you know the reasons for bleeding gums? Ever bit into an apple and saw blood from your gums on it? Or saw blood streaked spit after brushing your teeth? You are not the only one. A significant number of people from all ages, ethnicity, countries experience the same problem. While most causes of this are easy to treat and take care of, it should not be taken too lightly. Because it may be a sign of some serious underlying disease.

Why do my gums bleed?

Brushing too hard

To start off with reasons of bleeding gums in increasing order of severity, the first reason that even common sense can identify is brushing too hard. Either the brushing technique is not right, too much force is applied that lacerates the gums, or the bristles of the toothbrush are hard and even medium force cuts the gums causing them to bleed.

Gum Disease

Other causes for bleeding gums can be categorized under those which are gums related (i.e. gingivitis, periodontitis) and those that are related to a systemic disease. One of the earliest signs of a gum disease is bleeding from gums but this may not always be the case (i.e. in case of smokers). There are many gum diseases that could be leading to unhealthy gums. This includes plaque induced gingivitis, acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, other infections of gum, periodontal diseases etc.

Dental Plaque

The most common reasons for bleeding gums is plaque. Plaque is a sticky layer of debris and bacteria that accumulates on teeth and if not adequately removed, it quickly hardens to form tartar. This dental plaque is the beginning of gum disease as it causes the gums to become inflamed, friable and delicate. Plaque causes in imbalance in the oral flora or microorganisms.

The number of acidogenic (acid producing) bacteria increases and when sugars and substrate carbohydrates are consumed, more acid is formed in the oral cavity that further irritates the gums. Acid and some bacteria are able to penetrate the barrier membranes of gums, causing more and more of a host’s inflammatory and immune cells to accumulate there. Once these cells reach the site of insult, they release chemicals to fight bacteria, and in this process injure the gums too. In this diseased state, the gums are prone to bleeding. As this is going on at a microscopic level, sometimes the only sign of gums being unhealthy and diseased is bleeding. Hence it is important to control it at this early stage.


Reasons for bleeding gums also include infections like acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis and primary herpetic gingivostomatitis. Both are microbial diseases of gingiva (gums), and are acute in onset. Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis has acute on set mostly after a respiratory tract infection and involves necrosis (death) of gum tissue. Primary herpetic gingivostomatitis is oral herpes caused by Herpes simplex viruses. These infections, along with other infection of gingiva present as bleeding gums along with other specific symptoms.

Systematic Disease

Bleeding gums can also be a sign of a more serious underlying systemic disease. It could be due to Vitamin C deficiency. So, patients are advised to take more citrus in their diet to improve the condition. It could also be due to hemorrhagic disorders that increase the body’s tendency to bleed. This includes platelet disorders, leukemia, hemophilia, multiple myelomas. Apart from systemic diseases, it can also be the result of systemic conditions. Which includes hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy or oral contraceptives.

Bleeding Gums Treatment

Procedure for treatment of bleeding gums by the professional dentist is adopted after evaluation of the reasons for bleeding gums.

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