Why do gums bleed?

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

Ever notice pink in the sink after you brush or floss your teeth? Gums bleed for many reasons and can sometimes be a sign of a bigger dental health issue. Here are nine common causes of bleeding:

  • Gingivitis: This oral health issue is caused by plaque along the gum line that is not removed with brushing or flossing. This is the first stage of gum disease. Symptoms include swollen or red gums, bad breath, and receding gum line.
  • Medications: Some medications contribute to gum sensitivity, like blood thinners and aspirin. Be sure to share your medications with your dentist.
  • Flossing incorrectly: Gums that bleed when flossing indicates poor technique, ask your dentist for a demonstration of the best methodology.
  • Brushing too hard: Gums may bleed if you brush too hard, or you need a softer bristle.
  • Poor oral health habits: Just missing one or two scheduled oral care hygiene habits may increase the sensitivity of gums.
  • Poor diet: Starchy or sugary foods caught in the gums may contribute to plaque and cause irritation and inflammation.
  • Stress: Anxiety can contribute to a breakdown of the immune system and increase the risk of tender gums.
  • Smoking or vaping: Dangerous bacteria can get trapped between the teeth and gums, leading to sensitive gums.
  • A health condition like diabetes, leukemia or a vitamin deficiency: Bleeding gums may be a sign of more serious conditions. Conditions like diabetes may make it harder to fight inflammation and infections.

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