Bleeding Gums

Buildup of dental plaque causes bleeding gums, a common symptom of gingivitis, periodontitis and other forms of gums disease. But bleeding from your gums can also indicate other issues like teeth grinding, diabetes, hormone fluctuations and vitamin deficiencies.


What do bleeding gums mean?

Bleeding gums are the No. 1 symptom of gingivitis and other forms of gum disease. But bleeding from your gums can also point to other health issues, including hormone fluctuations, vitamin deficiencies, blood-clotting disorders and even stress.


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Possible Causes

Why are my gums bleeding?

There are several reasons why your gums might bleed. In most cases, oral health-related issues cause it. But it can also be a symptom of other health conditions.

Dental causes include:

Other causes include:

Care and Treatment

How do healthcare providers treat bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums treatment depends on the underlying cause. If bleeding gums are a result of gum disease, a dentist or periodontist (gum specialist) will recommend the appropriate treatment.

Common gum disease treatments include:

If you have bleeding gums but you don’t have gum disease, your healthcare provider will need to find out why your gums are bleeding. They may recommend testing to determine if you have diabetes, blood-clotting disorders, vitamin deficiencies or other underlying health conditions. Once you receive a diagnosis, your provider will recommend appropriate treatment.

How to stop bleeding gums at home

If you have bleeding gums that don’t improve within two weeks, you should schedule an appointment with a dentist. They can determine whether gum disease is the culprit.

In the meantime, here are some things you can try to stop bleeding gums at home:

  • Brush two to three times a day.
  • Floss once daily.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Avoid smoking.

What happens if you ignore bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums can get worse over time if you ignore them, especially if gum disease is the culprit. Left untreated, gum disease erodes the tissue, ligaments and bone that support your teeth. This can lead to a continuing cycle of infection, bad breath and even tooth loss.

If another health issue causes bleeding gums, your symptoms may worsen as the underlying condition worsens. It’s best to see a healthcare provider so they can give you a proper diagnosis and begin any necessary treatment.


Can I prevent my gums from bleeding in the first place?

Yes, in many cases you can. To reduce your risk for bleeding due to gum disease, visit your dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene at home.

You can’t prevent bleeding gums due to some other causes, like hormone changes, blood-clotting disorders or leukemia.

When To Call the Doctor

When should I see a healthcare provider?

Bleeding gums may go away on their own. But if the bleeding hasn’t stopped in two weeks, you should talk to a dentist or primary care physician. They’ll either recommend bleeding gums treatment (like a deep dental cleaning) or treatment for another underlying condition.


Additional Common Questions

What deficiency causes bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums can indicate a vitamin C or vitamin K deficiency.

When should I worry about bleeding gums?

Sometimes your gums can bleed if you accidentally bite into something hard, like a chip. This usually isn’t a cause for concern. But if your gums randomly bleed without an apparent cause, it could mean you have gum disease or another underlying health condition. If your gums bleed for longer than two weeks, or if you have additional symptoms like bad breath or swollen gums, you should talk to a healthcare provider.

How long can you go with bleeding gums?

While having bleeding gums usually isn’t an emergency, you should talk to a healthcare provider if your symptoms linger for more than two weeks. Waiting could cause any underlying conditions to worsen.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

It can be alarming to see blood in the sink when you brush your teeth. Bleeding gums can point to gum disease or other general health conditions. If your gums randomly bleed or bleed when you brush, mention it to your dentist or primary care physician. They can find out the cause of your symptoms and recommend treatment to get you back on track.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 04/17/2023.

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