Why do my gums bleed when I brush and floss?

Why do my gums bleed when I brush and floss?

This unfortunately is an all too common problem and generally means that gum disease (gingivitis/periodontitis) is present.


Gum disease can be evident in only one isolated area or spread throughout the entire mouth. As gum disease rarely causes discomfort,  people will often think that the bleeding is caused by the brushing.

Our gums are one of the main supporting structures of our teeth and when healthy are normally firm, pointed between the teeth, and pinkish depending on culture and ethnicity.  Unhealthy gums often appear puffy or swollen especially between and directly surrounding the tooth, the color is frequently bright red. The puffiness and red color is because the gums are inflamed and irritated, usually due to plaque and the bacteria it contains being left on the tooth. As the bacteria sits close to the gums our body’s natural defense is to bring blood to the area to protect and provide natural healing to the area. Unfortunately if the plaque and bacteria are not removed properly the blood continues to pool in the tissues causing them to become puffy. When we brush our teeth and the bristles rub against the gums, it causes this excess blood to seep out.

Fortunately there is an answer for this problem; a visit to your dental hygienist for a very thorough professional cleaning and to learn proper home care technique as well as increasing and improving personal oral health care at home. As mentioned earlier the gums are one of the main supporting structures of our teeth, left unattended this can lead to tooth loss as the disease progresses and damages the ligament and bone around the tooth, often times without any pain or discomfort.


Is it time for you to see a hygienist and ‘brush up’ on your oral home care technique?

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