Why Do Gums Bleed When Brushing?

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Gums are the soft pinkish tissues that support teeth by covering the roots and the underlying jaw bone. Medically, gums are known as gingiva. Healthy gums are a strong indication of good oral health. Gums form a protective barrier that does not allow any space between the teeth thus preventing any germs from growing in the space. Normal brushing of the teeth along with flossing never causes the gums to bleed. Gum bleeding is often the first sign of poor oral hygiene.

Causes of gum bleeding:

Bleeding from gums can occur due to many reasons and should not be taken lightly if it is persistent. Sometimes a single episode of bleeding may occur due to vigorous brushing which does not persist beyond a day. The most common cause of bleeding from gums is an active infection in the gums, medically known as gingivitis which results due to bacteria and plaque formation. This result in swollen, inflamed gums and this inflammation and infection can spread to the surrounding areas as well. This results in periodontal infection. Bleeding occurs as the gums get swollen, and any slight pressure can result in easy bleeding. Many people are totally unaware that they may have such an infection as bleeding from the gums may be the only symptom.

Any misalignment in teeth, overcrowding of teeth or even a fractured tooth can produce spaces between the teeth and gums which can lead to bacteria settling down in these pockets.

Systemic disease like diabetes and cancer can also cause bleeding from gums which need to be immediately reported to a treating doctor. Patients on chemotherapy may also suffer from bleeding gums especially as an adverse effect. Vitamin deficiencies can also result in gum bleeding

Regular use of tobacco and smoking, chewing betel leaves can lead to formation of canker sores and mouth ulcers on the gums which are not only painful but bleed easily.

Pregnancy, puberty, menstruation and menopause are times when the levels of hormones go on fluctuating in the body due to which there is an increased blood supply to the gums which can cause easy bleeding. Apart from bleeding there will be swollen and painful gums. In pregnancy it can last right up till the last few months of pregnancy.

Preventing gum bleeds:

Advice regarding daily oral care especially the correct technique of brushing using a soft bristle brush and gentle circular motions of brushing should be adopted. Flossing should be done to remove any food particles which remain stuck in between the teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. Food particles are the main cause of bacteria development. The motto of brushing and flossing is to disrupt the bacteria colony formation preventing it from remaining undisturbed for long.


Bleeding from gums during brushing is a common occurrence and should not be ignored. As it is often a painless bleeding, it may go unnoticed by the person who may consider it as a normal occurrence. Bleeding of gums always indicates some sort of periodontal infection which if not treated can lead to tooth decay and loss. Wrong methods of brushing and flossing can also aggravate this condition. As oral bacteria accumulation is very common, it is important to maintain oral hygiene by proper brushing, flossing and washing with an antimicrobial mouth wash. It is important to consult a dentist who will advise a correct regime of oral care along with periodic professional cleaning of teeth.

Author: rachita

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