Bleeding Gums: Reasons This is a Serious Red Flag You Can’t Ignore


Most people ignore their bleeding gums until it’s too late. But, this is a major red flag that something is very wrong in your mouth. Here are the reasons why they bleed and how to avoid having this happen to you.

Normal Gums

Normal gums don’t bleed. They are healthy and robust enough to resist minor trauma and are not actually red, but pink. No matter what you’ve heard, if your gums are bleeding during brushing or flossing, it’s probably because you have a mild form of gum disease, called gingivitis.

It might also be because you’re brushing or flossing way too hard. Whatever the cause, you need to go see your dentist right away.

Keep Brushing

Even though your gums are bleeding, don’t stop brushing or flossing. This is one sure-fire way to make things worse. Not brushing is one of the major reasons gum disease develops. Flossing removes small, hard-to-reach particles that disease-causing bacteria are most-likely to feed on. If these bacteria multiply in your mouth, you may end up developing full-blown gum disease.


Flossing is important. Your gums might bleed when you first start, and this is OK. No, it’s not normal, but it happens to most people. This is because they have mild gingivitis. To get over it, you need to keep your teeth clean and keep flossing. After a few days, the bleeding should stop. You will see a huge improvement in the feel and cleanliness of your teeth after the first floss.

If you want to get a really deep clean, buy a SonicCare (or similar) toothbrush and clean your teeth with that. You may be a bit disgusted by what comes out of your mouth, but remember that this was what was in your mouth just sitting there.

Another thing you could try is to use a tongue scraper. Tongue scrapers can be found in most drug stores and online.

Their primary purpose is to, you guessed it, scrape your tongue. Specifically, scrape the bacteria off your tongue.

It sounds gross to most people, but a thick coating on your tongue means that you’re playing host to serious bacterial buildup. By getting rid of it, you will instantly make your mouth cleaner, fresher, and easier to clean when you brush and floss.

Flossing should be done every day, and ideally twice a day. To make sure you’re doing a good job, carefully slide the floss between your teeth and slide it up and down, curving around both sides of the tooth. Here’s a video on how to floss correctly.

Gum Disease

More than ¾ of people over 35 get gum disease. And, while most people have a less severe form of it, between 5 and 15 percent have a very serious type called periodontitis.

When you don’t practice proper dental hygiene the bacteria in your mouth forms a plaque. The plaque hardens into calculus, which can cause inflammation of the gums. This, in turn, results in red, swollen, and bleeding, gums.

For many people living with gingivitis, the inflammation isn’t painful, but it is harmful. If left unchecked, it could lead to the loss of teeth, bloodstream infections and, if severe, death.

Changes in the way your teeth fit together or feel when biting or chewing, formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums, gums that bleed during or after brushing or flossing, loose or shifting teeth, a persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth, receding gums, red, swollen, or tender gums all need to be checked out.

Visit for other symptoms.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are another sign that something might be wrong. While the definitive cause isn’t known, it can be a cause of bleeding or painful gums. Sores typically form when you are under stress, or you are suffering from a deficiency in one or several B vitamins. They can also form after trauma to the lips or gums (e.g. if you bite your tongue or lip accidentally).

They take a week to several weeks to heal fully.


Tobacco can eventually cause gum disease. You may find that your smoking habit leads to sensitive gums, painful and bleeding gums.


If you’re being treated for cancer, a side effect of receiving chemotherapy is painful, swollen, or bleeding gums. Many people undergoing treatment for cancer also battle stomatitis, which is the development of sores and ulcers on the gums and throughout the mouth.
Elsie Morgan works as a dental hygienist so she sees a lot of teeth close up every year. Elsie is always keen to promote the benefits of good oral health with an online audience and is a regular writer for a number of health and lifestyle websites.