Why Do My Gums Bleed?

You've probably experienced bleeding gums at some point in your life. Bleeding gums could be a result of something as simple as a poor brushing technique or a symptom of an underlying condition such as vitamin C deficiency. Gums bleeding irregularly are common and shouldn't be a concern. If bleeding gums is a frequent occurrence for you, it's worth understanding the potential causes and speaking to your dentist. So, why do gums bleed?

Causes of Bleeding Gums

As mentioned earlier, there are many potential reasons gums bleed. Some causes can be easily fixed or treated, whereas others may be due to an underlying condition. Below are some of the causes of bleeding gums are:

  • Poor brushing technique
  • Poor flossing technique
  • Recently began flossing or inconsistent flossing
  • Gingivitis (gum disease)
  • Low vitamin C levels
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes

Bleeding Gums When Brushing

When brushing your teeth, you shouldn't be using lots of pressure. Brushing harder can cause damage to the enamel, discomfort and bleeding gums. A common sign you brush too hard is your bristles becoming frayed in around a month or less. A toothbrush (or brush head) should last between 2 to 3 months before it needs replacing.

A poor brushing technique may not be the only reason your gums bleed when brushing. The NHS states that bleeding gums when brushing could be a symptom of gum disease. Other potential symptoms include swollen and sore gums, bad breath, shrinking gums or teeth becoming loose and falling out.

Bleeding Gums When Flossing

Similar to brushing, bleeding gums when flossing could be a result of a poor flossing technique. When flossing, you shouldn't force the floss between teeth or rub against gum tissue. This can irritate your gums, causing them to bleed. Bleeding when flossing is also another potential symptom of gum disease.

Pregnancy And Bleeding Gums

When pregnant, hormonal changes can make your gums more vulnerable to plaque. This can cause bleeding and inflammation. It is especially crucial to practice good oral hygiene to prevent plaque from building up. More information is available on the NHS website.

Treating And Preventing Bleeding Gums

Having a good oral care routine can prevent most of the causes of bleeding gums, such as gum disease and poor brushing techniques. Below are general tips you should follow for a good oral care routine:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. Do not rinse.
  • Clean interdentally daily using interdental brushes or floss
  • Replace your toothbrush or brush head every 2-3 months
  • Visit your dentist regularly, especially if you're pregnant or have diabetes
  • Avoid using mouthwash directly after brushing


 Good oral care can play a pivotal role in preventing bleeding gums. If you've just started cleaning interdentally, bleeding gums can be common. As you carry on cleaning interdentally and your gums become healthier, bleeding should stop. If your gums are bleeding often, it's best to contact your dentist, who will be able to provide tailored advice. If you're new to cleaning interdentally, read our blog on interdental brushes and floss.