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What are bleeding gums?

A sufferer of bleeding gums might experience bleeding from their gum line due to the simplest activity e.g., brushing or flossing. At first bleeding gums might be mildly sore and simply a nuisance, but left untreated it can quickly develop into more serious conditions such as periodontitis (which can lead to teeth loosening or even falling out). ‘Bleeding gums’ might be a sign of gum disease.

If you’re worried about bleeding gums, then it may be worth arranging an appointment with your dentist so they can investigate and provide treatment to resolve the issue.

Symptoms of bleeding gums

Usually people notice that their gums seem to be bleeding during routine tooth brushing or flossing. This condition may not cause any other problem, apart from mild discomfort during oral hygiene.

Speak to a dental professional today

Our dentists have all the experience, skill and technology required to diagnose and treat bleeding gums. Arrange an appointment with our dental team at our central London dental clinic, situated on the prestigious Wimpole Street.

What is the most common cause of bleeding gums?


One of the most common forms of gum disease is gingivitis. Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that occurs when plaque has accumulated on the gum for a long period of time. If the plaque isn’t removed it can harden and turn into tartar, which can cause further inflammation. Gingivitis can be fully resolved by seeing a dental hygienist; once all the tartar and plaque have been cleaned, the gums will heal pretty quickly. In some patients however the problem is already lying at a deeper level and, if the bone that supports the teeth has already receded, healing will not occur so easily. This would be the case of periodontitis, aka gum disease.

Brushing too hard

Brushing your teeth with excessive force can irritate and inflame the gums. The regularity of your oral health routine is more important than the force you use to undertake it. Furthermore, brushing with a particularly hard brush may also be the cause of bleeding gums. We recommend using electric toothbrushes. They are more efficient and reduce the pressure you can apply on your teeth and gums.

Starting to floss

If you’ve just started flossing, then you might be experiencing bleeding gums because your gums just weren’t clean enough! Bleeding gums should subside a few days after starting your flossing regime.


Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy result in extra sensitive gums. If the hygiene is not impeccable, they will bleed easier. Seeing the hygienist and having very thorough oral hygiene routines at home will ensure the gums will be nice and happy.


In some instances, bleeding gums can be a sign of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can make your mouth more susceptible to gum disease, leading to bleeding gums.


Medication such as blood thinners can cause the gums to bleed more easily, unrelated to hygiene levels. If your dentist confirms that the cause for the bleeding is not plaque-related, consult your GP in regard to your medication and its possible side effects.

Poor dental restorations

Faulty, damaged, or very old fillings, crowns or bridges can be an important factor in gingivitis and even periodontal disease. If you suspect that might be the case, it’s a good idea to arrange an appointment with your dentist.

How do you fix and prevent bleeding gums?

The most powerful and effective way to combat bleeding gums is to maintain a regular oral health regime.

Keeping thorough oral hygiene at home, with correct tooth brushing and flossing is instrumental. However, it is essential to attend regular dental check-ups and hygiene visits, to ensure you don’t have tartar and plaque building up in areas you cannot clean by yourself.

If you have old restorations that make the daily hygiene routine unlikely to be successful, you should consider replacing them.

Prof Christian Mehl

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

A certified implantologist and prosthodontics specialist with 20+ years in dentistry, I conduct clinical research, teach at University of Kiel, and contribute to implant system development. Recipient of the Camlog Research Award, I frequently publish and deliver global lectures.

Clinically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

When did we last update this page?

Our expert team continually update and research the latest news and techniques in dentistry, as such we regularly update our pages and have these clinically reviewed.

Current Version

July 21st 2023

  • Added “when did we last update this page” and author biography to the page.

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Medically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

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October 2nd 2022

  • Page redesigned and updated to reflect change in address.

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Medically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

30th August 2021

  • Original content created.

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Medically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

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