14 Reasons for Bleeding Gums

Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth? Learn 14 reasons why this happens in this article.
14 Reasons for Bleeding Gums
José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli

Reviewed and approved by the doctor José Gerardo Rosciano Paganelli.

Written by Okairy Zuñiga

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Do you have bleeding gums when you brush your teeth? If so, then don’t be too concerned – it is quite common. If you’ve never had them to you need to be aware that it can happen at any time. But what are the reasons for bleeding gums?

There are actually many reasons why they may bleed. However, the main reason is due to not taking care of them properly. Your mouth is usually a large repository of germs and bacteria, so it’s recommended to:

  • Frequently change your toothbrush.
  • Use floss to remove residue that remains between your teeth.
  • Visit the dentist at least twice a year.

Nevertheless, bleeding from your gums is quite common, even though it may not seem so. If you notice that they bleed when you bite or that you see blood when spit after brushing your teeth, take this as a warning that something is wrong with them.

When you have healthy gums, they don’t bleed. However, it’s likely that this symptom will be ignored and downplayed. Unfortunately, you may end up losing some teeth if you don’t pay attention to your gums.

Below, you’ll find the most important reasons for bleeding gums:

14 reasons for bleeding gums

1. Gingivitis

Gingivitis is one of the main and most common reasons for bleeding gums. This condition describes the weakening and inflammation of the gums that occurs due to plaque buildup. The most effective remedy for this problem is to improve your oral hygiene.

2. Lack of vitamin K

Vitamin K deficiency causes the gums to bleed. This vitamin is essential for the proteins involved in the coagulation process to function properly.

3. Smoking

Person smoking
Excessive smoking causes damage to the teeth and causes oral treatments to be ineffective. If you smoke, you’re likely to see your gums bleed when eating hard foods or brushing your teeth.

If you’ve begun to notice this, it could be a sign of future problems.

4. Age

In the case of age, bleeding gums are normal to a certain extent. The older you are, the more likely your gums will bleed.

5. Diabetes

If you have diabetes, it’s normal for your gums to bleed (up to a point). Usually, this occurs when brushing your teeth very roughly, or with a toothbrush with very hard bristles.

Be sure to gently brush your teeth and make sure your toothbrush has soft bristles. If you have any questions, ask your dentist.

6. Poor nutrition

The lack of necessary nutrients in the body as well as the absence of important vitamins like vitamins A, B and C can cause your gums to weaken and, consequently, to bleed. It’s important that you make sure you have a varied and healthy diet. If you think you don’t, then it’s time to eat more fruits and vegetables.

7. Certain medications

Person with pills in their hand

Occasionally, those with continuous medical treatment may experience bleeding gums. This is because certain medications decrease salivation, which causes some bacteria to become more prone to reproducing.
  • If you see that your gums are bleeding and you just started taking some medication, ask your doctor or dentist if these are related.
  • If they are, you can ask to be put on different medication if your treatment will be very long, or wait to finish taking your current medication if you only need to take it for a few days.

8. Stress

Although you may find this hard to believe, stress can cause your gums and oral tissues to weaken and cause them to bleed due to the lowering of your defenses. Ideally, you should look for ways to relax when you feel that stress is pushing you to the limit.

9. Teeth missing

When you have teeth missing, then it’s difficult to bite correctly. This causes the uneven friction of the teeth to affect the gums, hence making them bleed. If this is your case, ask your dentist to replace your missing teeth with resin or the material of your choice.

10. Low defenses

Blood cells in our body

The body tends to succumb to different diseases when it doesn’t have adequate protection. Some health problems such as anemia may be the reason why your gums are bleeding (due to increased proliferation of bacteria).

11. Lack of visits to the dentist

If your oral health is not checked regularly, there will be no rapid diagnosis. Going to the dentist to remove plaque is very important for your overall health.

12. Oral infections

Remember that saliva is how bacteria is transferred. Be careful who you kiss in order to avoid bacterial problems that can cause inflammation and gum conditions.

Read more: How to Treat Common Oral Problems

13. Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the common reasons for bleeding gums. Although it’s a very normal period for a woman, it can cause major changes. Your doctor will tell you what action you should take.

14. Defective dental work

Did you maybe get dental treatment recently and then your gums started to bleed? This occurs when denture work or dental fillings have been poorly placed or when dental cleaning is carried out very roughly.

Take it to your dentist to correct the problem or seek a second opinion.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Chow AW. Infections of the oral cavity, neck, and head. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 65.
    • Hayward CPM. Clinical approach to the patient with bleeding or bruising. In: Hoffman R, Benz EJ, Silberstein LE, et al, eds. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 128.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.