Bleeding Gums? What It Says About Your Health

Most people have seen the odd bit of blood in the sink after spitting out toothpaste. But if it happens regularly, it could be a sign of a more serious health problem. Here’s what bleeding gums might mean and why you should go and visit your dentist. 

Brushing Too Hard

You should apply around 150g of pressure to your toothbrush for optimal cleaning. That’s about the same as a large bag of chips. If you press harder than that, it actually makes cleaning less effective since bristles get crushed against your teeth instead of scooping plaque away. 

Practice pressing more gently. If it helps, use an electric toothbrush. Glide it over your teeth’s surface instead of pushing it in hard. 

Using A Toothbrush With Stiff Bristles

Most modern toothbrushes have soft bristles, but there are many exceptions. Some are actually quite stiff and can damage your delicate gum lining.

If you think that this might be the culprit, ask your dentist which soft-bristled product they would recommend. They should be able to point you in the direction of a suitable toothbrush. 

You Have Gingivitis

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Dentists consider it a mild “first stage” form of gum disease. You may notice that your gums look red and swollen, and they may bleed easily when you brush them. You may also feel irritation. 

Fortunately, gingivitis is relatively easy to deal with. Often, improving your oral hygiene is enough to deal with the problem. Brushing your teeth twice per day, flossing every day, and using antibacterial mouthwash can usually deal with the problem. 

If plaque is causing the inflammation, you may need descaling. Here, a hygienist scrapes your teeth, removing any unwanted material, and giving your gums the space they need to heal. 

You Have Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a much more serious form of gum disease where bacteria have migrated down to the roots of the teeth. People with this condition often experience intense pain and may bleed profusely after brushing. 

Unfortunately, periodontitis is challenging to reverse. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics, but the “pockets” next to teeth can be virtually impossible to eliminate. Gum flaps pull away from teeth and don’t usually reattach themselves. This means that new infections can enter periodically. In many cases, the only solution is to remove the affected tooth.


Bleeding gums is also a warning sign for both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Diabetes makes it more difficult for your mouth to fight disease. Because of this, germs can more easily damage the tissue. High blood sugar levels affect the lining of blood vessels that supply your gums, making it harder for your body to heal. 

Faulty Dental Restoration

For some patients, faulty dental restorations are the cause of their bleeding gums. Prosthetics can dig into the gum, causing injury. Or teeth can grind up against gums, leading to a weakening of the tissue, making bleeding more likely. 

You may also experience bleeding gums more often if you take certain types of medications such as blood thinners.