Bleeding Gums

Bleeding from gums may occur while brushing or sometimes it occurs on its own (spontaneously). If you often see a pink tinge in the sink after brushing teeth, you have bleeding gums. It may be a sign of inflammation of gums. Inflamed gums appear red and swollen while healthy gums are light pink in colour.

Most common cause of bleeding gums is accumulation of plaque on the teeth. If this plaque is not removed by regular brushing and flossing between teeth, it hardens up and turn into tartar or calculus which cannot be cleaned by regular brushing. Calculus can only be removed by professional dental cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. If not cleaned, over the time, it will lead to inflamed gums and increased bleeding from gums which is the main sign of gingivitis.

If ignored and not taken proper care of oral hygiene, it may advance to gingivitis which may progress to periodontitis (disease of gums and surrounding tissue and bone). Bleeding gums may also be a sign of a serious medical condition such as diabetes, HIV, immunosuppressive diseases, etc.



There are many possible causes of bleeding from gums such as:

  • Brushing too hard (forcefully)
  • Using a hard toothbrush
  • Lack of cleaning between teeth (flossing) leading to food accumulation and plaque formation
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Hormonal changes in during puberty and pregnancy

Other causes that can exacerbate gingival bleeding may include diabetes mellitus, malnutrition, use of blood thinners (e.g. aspirin) and anticoagulants such as warfarin and heparin, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, hormonal imbalances, blood cancers (leukaemia), iron overload

Some less common causes are:

  • Vitamin C deficiency (scurvy)
  • Vitamin K deficiency
  • Dengue fever


If your gums bleed regularly, go for a dental checkup to get examined for oral hygiene status. Examination by dentist should be done to rule out the issues such as malnutrition, puberty and pregnancy.

Additional diagnostic tests to certain possible diseases may also be required. This includes test for diabetes mellitus, X-rays for teeth and jaw bones, blood tests etc.



If you don’t brush and floss properly and regularly, then do so.

·        Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.

·        Use an extra-soft or soft-bristled toothbrush for brushing your teeth.

·        Learn proper brushing technique and how to clean between your teeth from your dentist.

Plaque forms very quickly and if it is not removed, inflammation of the gums start within few days, but good oral hygiene practices can help to remove it. Plaque harden to form tartar or calculus, further promoting bacterial growth. If tartar is present, get it removed by the dentist. The earlier it is detected, sooner it can be managed.

Health conditions like diabetes are often associated with gum disease as well. Some medications such as antiseizure drugs or blood pressure drugs also affect your gums. The gums also are very sensitive to hormonal changes, that occur during puberty and pregnancy. It is important for pregnant women to see their dentist.

Besides being part of prevention, oral hygiene is also important in the treatment of gingivitis and periodontitis.



  • PUBLISHED DATE : Apr 16, 2019
  • CREATED / VALIDATED BY : Dr Rida Ziaul
  • LAST UPDATED ON : Apr 16, 2019


Write your comments

This question is for preventing automated spam submissions
The content on this page has been supervised by the Nodal Officer, Project Director and Assistant Director (Medical) of Centre for Health Informatics. Relevant references are cited on each page.