Why You Shouldn't Ignore Your Bleeding Gums

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Your Bleeding Gums

Seeing blood when you brush or floss, especially vigorously, is common but concerning. A significant amount of blood usually has you speed-dialing your dentist, while you might ignore a small amount. However, you should pay attention to any sign of blood around your gums and teeth.

At LivWell Dentistry in San Francisco and San Ramon, California, Dr. Wenli Loo and Dr. Steve Deng often come across people who brush off bleeding gums until they become more serious. However, we know it’s a common sign of gingivitis, periodontitis, and other gum diseases. 

Without prompt treatment, gum diseases can break down the bones that support teeth and cause tooth loss. In this blog, we help you understand why your gums may be bleeding and what you should do about it.

Common causes of bleeding gums

There are many reasons your gum could be bleeding. The following are some of the most common causes:


Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. It happens when plaque builds up on teeth and irritates gums. If you don’t clean your teeth properly, plaque can make your gums red and swollen and likely to bleed when you brush or floss.

Brushing too hard

If you brush your teeth too aggressively or use a hard-bristled toothbrush, you could hurt your gums and cause them to bleed. Brushing or flossing too hard can do more harm than good, so it’s essential to be gentle but thorough.

Poor flossing habits

If you aren’t flossing regularly and then suddenly start, your gums might bleed at first. You may also bleed if you floss too hard. Regular, gentle flossing can help your gums get used to it and stop the bleeding.

Side effects of certain medications

Some medicines, especially those that thin your blood, can make your gums bleed more easily. If you notice more bleeding when you start a new medication, talk to your dentist and healthcare provider.

Other health issues 

Sometimes, bleeding gums can point to other health problems, like vitamin deficiencies or conditions that make it difficult for your blood to clot. 

Why you shouldn’t ignore bleeding gums 

When you ignore the early signs of gum diseases, such as bleeding, you risk developing periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that doesn’t just cause sore and bleeding gums. It can cause the bones that hold your teeth to degenerate, triggering tooth loss. Periodontitis can also make it difficult for you to eat and speak.

Aside from your oral health, research shows a connection between chronic gum diseases and severe health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and strokes. These studies suggest that inflammation in your gums can cause these conditions to develop or worsen if you already have them. Gum disease can also lead to gum recession, which can change the way your smile and teeth look and affect your self-confidence.

Diagnosis and treatment 

If you come into LivWell Dentistry complaining about bleeding gums, we first check for signs of gum disease, such as gingivitis. If your gums are a little swollen and bleed easily, you likely have gingivitis. We also check for signs of plaque, which, when not cleaned properly and regularly, can cause your gums to bleed.

Once we determine what’s causing your gums to bleed, we create a treatment plan. If you have early-stage gum disease, we might suggest a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup. If the problem is more severe, we might do a deeper cleaning called scaling and root planing, which cleans beneath your gums and can help them heal. 

Your best defense against gum disease is always prevention. Brushing and flossing correctly keeps your gums clean and healthy. Regular visits to our office for check-ups and cleanings are also important because they let us identify and treat any oral problems promptly.

Ignoring bleeding gums can lead to serious dental and health issues. Schedule an appointment with us online, or call us at 415-477-3700 today to figure out why your gums are bleeding and treat the underlying cause.


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