Bleeding Gums

It is common to find a tinge of blood on your tooth brush in the morning. Often, people ignore it. Remember, it is never normal to bleed from the gums.

There are many causes of getting blood from the gums. The commonest among them is gingivitis.


Gingivitis is inflammation or irritation of the gums. This is a common condition which needs attention. It should not be ignored.

If you have plaque near the gum line on your tooth, it is possible that it extends further down to infect the gum tissue.

Plaque has bacteria deposited in it. If it is not removed from time to time, plaque accumulates and builds up to form tartar, which is a hard substance.

How Do You Get Gingivitis?

Our teeth are attached at a much below level in the gum tissue than what is visible to us. That is to say that, a little gum tissue covers the tooth from both sides like flaps.

This arrangement creates a pocket between the gum tissue and each tooth.

When we eat our food, some food may get deposited near those pockets. Only, thorough mouth rinses after each meal can remove this food material.

Deposited food invites oral bacteria. which come there and get established over the tooth. Gradually, plaques are formed, which are nothing but accumulated food with bacteria on it.

A plaque appears as a yellow to brown stain over the tooth.

Plaques may thicken with time. They also harden due to deposition of certain salts over them. This lead to the formation of tartar.

Tartars are difficult to remove.

Bacteria present over the tooth near the gum line may find their way inside, into the gum tissue. This spread of infection into the gum tissue is called gingivitis.


  • Infected gums may look normal in the early stages.
  • Later on, it may become red, swollen and may be painful.
  • Tooth may loosen up a bit. Sometimes, tooth loss has to be suffered.
  • The affected gum and tooth may become sensitive to hot or cold fluids. This makes eating difficult.
  • Bleeding from the gums. This may occur ant time, or while you brush your teeth.
  • Bad breath from the mouth.
  • You may feel some salty fluid in your mouth. This is pus.
  • Sometimes, adjacent lymph nodes, like those under the chin, may appear swollen or painful.

The infection of gums and other tissues adjoining the teeth is called periodontitis. If left unchecked, infection from the gums extends further to infect the bone underneath.

How to Make a Diagnosis?

Making a diagnosis requires a physical exam by a dentist.  He make probe your gum to check swelling in it, or to see if any pus is collected in it.

He may see for signs of infection, any enlarged lymph node, pain in the jaw bone etc.

X ray jaw may be done to see any pus/ infected fluid collection.


  • Doctor checks for any pus collection. If present, it needs to be drained.
  • Oral antibiotics are given.
  • Antibiotic mouth washes are recommended.
  • Good oral hygiene practices are suggested.
  • Any plaques present may be removed by scaling to prevent the recurrence of gingivitis in future.

Other Causes of Bleeding Gums

  • Use of any blood thinning medicine, like anti coagulants.
  • Medical conditions, as blood cancers, idiopathic thrombocytic purpura, liver cirrhosis etc.
  • Use of a new tooth brush or the one with hard bristles.
  • Faulty flossing techniques. Flossing needs to be done gently and skillfully, taking care that you don’t injure your gums.
  • It is common to bleed a bit when you start flossing. However, as you continue, bleeds get arrested by themselves.

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