Bleeding Gums? Here’s Why It Happens—And What To Do Next

A young woman with a floss pick looks at her teeth and gums.

It can feel alarming to see blood in the sink after brushing or flossing. Bleeding gums when brushing is often a sign of an underlying dental issue, but the good news is that you can address the problem by taking action early. 

Nowadays, new technologies and advancements have made gum disease easy to treat. At The Dental Health Group, many of our patients have asked us questions such as “Why do gums bleed?” and “why do my gums bleed when I floss?” Here’s everything you need to know about at-home remedies for bleeding gums and when to visit the dentist.

Why Do Gums Bleed?

Gums may bleed for a variety of reasons. However, the most common cause of bleeding gums is plaque build-up on teeth. This plaque contains bacteria that can lead to inflammation. The swollen gum tissue ruptures easily, and you may see bleeding when brushing or flossing.

Too much force when brushing or flossing may be another reason why your gums bleed. Of course, brushing and flossing are vital components of preventative dental care. Brushing is never bad for your teeth, but sometimes stiff bristles or a hard pressing motion can cause some irritation. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and make gentle, circular motions while holding the brush at an angle to clean under your gum line without irritating the tissue.

Another reason why gums bleed is because of poorly fitting dentures. If you wear dentures, a dentist must check them regularly to ensure they fit correctly and to have them adjusted so they fit your mouth appropriately and comfortably.

At-Home Remedies For Bleeding Gums

There are safe, at-home remedies that may address why your gums bleed. If you are experiencing bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, you can try a few dentist-approved remedies. These include using an antibacterial mouthwash, such as Listerine, twice a day; brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush; and flossing regularly. 

While it seems counterintuitive, one of the main reasons why your gums bleed when you floss is that you need to do it more often! Think of it like exercising. If your arms and chest are sore after one day of lifting weights, it means you’re building muscle. Gums need strengthening, too.

If you do not floss your teeth regularly, get into the habit of flossing every time you brush your teeth. Chances are you’ll soon see an improvement. It is also important to eat a healthy diet. Cut back on sugary drinks, gum, and candy, and include plenty of fruits and vegetables. Healthy foods can help keep your gums strong and improve your oral health.

If these at-home remedies do not improve your gum health within a week to 10 days, schedule a visit to the dentist. They can perform a comprehensive examination to determine why your gums are bleeding and create a plan to fix the problem.

Preventing Bleeding and Gum Disease When Brushing or Flossing

A father and son brushing their teeth and gums

Gum disease is a primary reason why gums bleed. Here are four science-backed precautionary measures to prevent gum disease and bleeding gums when brushing or flossing.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can go a long way in keeping your gums healthy. In addition, the American Dental Association recommends drinking plenty of water and eating foods high in calcium and phosphorus. These nutrients are often found in green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seafood, so add them to your meals! 

Manage Stress Levels

Stress can weaken the immune system and make it more difficult for the body to fight infection and inflammation. This includes the inflammation caused by the build-up of plaque on your teeth. When you find ways to effectively manage the stress in your life through exercise, meditation or prayer, and positive activities or hobbies with family and friends, you will also experience better overall health and oral health.

Quit Smoking

Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is a significant factor in developing gum disease. Not only does smoking weaken the immune system, but it also reduces your body’s ability to fight infections. If you or a family member smokes cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars, or vapes, consider these health statistics:

  • Smoking doubles the risk of gum disease.
  • The risk of developing gum disease increases with the length of time smoking.
  • Gum disease treatments are not as effective for those who continue smoking.

No matter what you do to stop your gums from bleeding, continued smoking may counteract those efforts.

Replace Your Toothbrush

Because bleeding gums when brushing can be a sign of a worn-out or stiff brush, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles become frayed. Worn-down bristles can irritate your gums and lead to bleeding.

When To Visit The Dentist

One of the main reasons why gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth is that it’s time for your regular visit to the dentist for a routine cleaning and examination. Keeping up to date on regular dentist visits is essential for maintaining good oral health, even when you are not experiencing any dental issues. 

The Dental Health Group offers a welcoming, safe space for all patients, and we will work with you to address concerns in a compassionate, non-judgmental way. 

When you come to our office on the day of your appointment, we will ask you about any issues with your teeth or gums so we can address them properly. The dentist will do a comprehensive examination of your mouth and may recommend treatments such as teeth cleaning or gum treatment. We believe in the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so we will also advise how to keep your teeth and gums healthy in the future.

A Healthy Smile Means No More Bleeding Gums!

Remember, the most common reason why gums bleed is an underlying dental issue that needs attention. If trying at-home remedies such as using an antibacterial mouthwash and brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush doesn’t improve your gum health, it is important to visit the dentist for an examination and treatment plan. Taking action now will help keep your teeth and gums healthy in the future.

The Dental Health Group can help you address bleeding gums through routine cleanings, specialized deep cleaning, periodontal therapy, and gum disease laser treatments. Depending on the severity of your condition, all of these can help improve your smile and oral health.

If you’re looking for answers to explain why your gums bleed, contact The Dental Health Group in Canoga Park today. We specialize in preventative dentistry and are currently welcoming new patients. Call 818-718-2000 or visit us online to schedule a consultation.

We look forward to meeting you!