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Learn about your bleeding gums, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your bleeding gums from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Bleeding Gums Checker

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Your Bleeding Gums May Also be Known as:
Bloody gums
Gum bleeding
Gum sores

Bleeding Gums Symptoms

You brush twice a day. You floss more than most. You use all the latest whitening products. But your pearly whites aren't the star of the show. Instead all they can see are your puffy, oozing, bleeding gums. Not exactly the first impression you want to make.

If you want to have pink and happy gums instead of red and angry gums, there is a solution within reach.

But first, let's find out how severe your bleeding gums are based on this list of possible symptoms.

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed when brushing or eating
  • Gums that pull away from teeth
  • New spaces between teeth or shifting teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath

Healthy gums should be firm and resistant to movement, pink near the teeth, stippled, and scalloped around the teeth. If none of this is ringing a bell, it's time to evaluate your dental hygiene routine.

In most cases, the cause behind bleeding gums can be treated. But it's always best to begin treatment as soon as possible to avoid prolonged complications or side effects. The first step in treating swollen and unhealthy gums is to determine the cause.

Bleeding Gums Causes Overview

Bleeding gums are never normal. That's why it's important to find the cause, even if you only see a small amount of blood.

Dental Habits to prevent bleeding gums:

  • Flossing: Flossing removes food and build-up that brushing and rinsing can't. By skipping this step, you're leaving your gums vulnerable to bacteria.
  • Toothbrush: Avoid medium or hard bristled toothbrushes. These can irritate the gums. Brushing harder isn't better. A soft bristled brush is strong enough to remove food and plaque.
  • Brushing: Have you been known to skip a brushing session now and again? Brushing half an hour after eating breakfast and before going to sleep is ideal.

Medications that cause gums to bleed:

  • Blood thinners: It's not difficult to get a small cut in your gums, whether from brushing too hard or from trauma. Taking blood thinners can make a small cut seem much worse.

Conditions and diseases that cause bleeding gums:

  • Pregnancy: When a woman is pregnant, she's more susceptible to developing gum problems. This can make it more difficult to keep gums healthy, but the good news is that the issues typically disappear after giving birth.
  • Gum disease: There are several stages of gum disease. Bleeding gums are the first sign of a problem. Inflammation of the gums is known as gingivitis. The more severe form of gum disease is known as periodontitis. See a dentist before serious complications arise.
  • General increased risk of bleeding such as blood thinning medications or more rarely illnesses such as leukemia.

Gums bleeding due to lifestyle choices:

  • Poor diet: Eating food high in sugar while not practicing proper dental hygiene habits creates the perfect environment for bacteria growth and swollen gums.
  • Smoking: The toxic chemicals in smoking irritate gums and leave you more likely to develop gum disease and for it to progress faster with more serious side effects, like lost teeth and receding gums.

Top 9 Bleeding Gums Causes

  1. 1.Gingivitis

    Gingivitis is the infection of the gums surrounding the teeth. It is caused by plaque and/or tartar that has built up on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky layer of gunk made by food particles, mucus, and bacteria. After a while, plaque hardens to become tartar (or calculus). Plaque and tartar at the bottom of the teeth causes the gums to become irritated and infected.

    You should go to the nearest dentist in the next few weeks. There, the dentist or dental hygenist will clean your teeth, getting rid of that nasty plaque/tartar. Once cleaned, you should rinse your mouth twice-a-day with chlorhexidine 0.12% oral rinse (PerioGard) or half-strength hydrogen peroxide. Flossing and brushing your teeth are also essential.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    bleeding gums, gum pain, gum swelling, gum redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Hemophilia a

    Hemophilia A is an inherited (genetic) disorder which causes the blood to have a deficiency or absence of coagulation factor VIII, which is a protein that is needed to create blood clots. This can result in bleeding that starts on its own, or uncontrollable bleeding after trauma or surgery.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will refer you to a hemophilia treatment center. Treatment is with medication and avoidance of trauma that can cause uncontrollable bleeding.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, difficulty moving the shoulder, unexplained/excessive bleeding from cuts or wounds, pink/blood-tinged urine, rectal bleeding
    Symptoms that always occur with hemophilia a:
    unexplained/excessive bleeding from cuts or wounds
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Normal Bleeding After Dental Surgery

    Bleeding after a dental surgery or procedure is very common, and it's likely caused by a clot that got dislodged, allowing bleeding to restart.

    You should dampen (wet) clean gauze or wash cloth, place it in the area of the surgery, and either bite down or apply pressure with a finger. This should stop bleeding within 5 minutes.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    bleeding gums
    Symptoms that always occur with normal bleeding after dental surgery:
    bleeding gums
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Bleeding After Dental Surgery Requiring Care

    Bleeding after a dental surgery or procedure is very common, and it's likely caused by a clot that got dislodged, allowing bleeding to restart. If you have trouble forming blood clots, this might require help from a dentist or a doctor.

    You should go to your dentist immediately. If that's not possible, go to the nearest ER as soon as possible. Your bleeding can safely be controlled there. In the meantime, you should dampen (wet) clean gauze or wash cloth, place it in the area of the surgery, and either bite down or apply pressure with a finger. This should slow the bleeding.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    bleeding gums
    Symptoms that always occur with bleeding after dental surgery requiring care:
    bleeding gums
    Urgency:
    In-person visit

    Bleeding Gums Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having bleeding gums.

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  5. 5.Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (Anug)

    Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) is a relatively rare infection of the gums. It's also known as "trench mouth", as it was discovered in a large number of soldiers in WWI that were stuck in trenches. The pain caused by ANUG is what makes it different from chronic periodontitis, and it requires treatment by professionals.

    You should go to the nearest dentist as soon as possible, or to an urgent care if one is not open at this hour. There, you will be given antibiotics and mouth wash to relieve the pain. You should definitely see a dentist if you go to an urgent care first. The dentist will remove any dead gum tissue to promote healing and help reduce pain.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    bleeding gums, chronically bad breath, gum pain, severe mouth pain, gum redness
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  6. 6.Head and Neck Cancer

    There are five main types of head and neck cancer, which are all named according to the part of the body where they develop: laryngeal (voice box), nasal cavity and sinus, nasopharyngeal (air passage way behind the nose), oral (mouth), and salivary gland cancers. Most of these cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), meaning they begin in the flat (squamous) cells that make up the thin surface layer of the structures in the head and neck.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate your care with a cancer specialist (oncologist) for further testing. It is impossible to definitively diagnosis head and neck cancers without lab testing and biopsy. Treatment is likely to include surgery and chemotherapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, hoarse voice, trouble swallowing, pain with swallowing
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Macrophage Activation Syndrome

    Macrophage Activation Syndrome is a rare, but life-threatening disease caused by rheumatic diseases like Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and Still disease.

    Given the life-threatening nature of the disease, you should go to the ER immediately for blood tests and stabilization.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, fever, diarrhea, new headache, rash
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  8. 8.Aplastic Anemia

    Aplastic anemia occurs when the body stops creating enough blood cells

    You should seek immediate medical care at your primary care physician or an urgent care, where diagnostic tests (blood tests) can be done and if needed a referral to a hospital can be made.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    being severely ill, fever, new headache, racing heart beat, severe fatigue
    Symptoms that always occur with aplastic anemia:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  9. 9.Glanzmann Thrombasthenia

    Platelets are cells in the blood that are needed to form blood clots and prevent uncontrollable bleeding. Glanzmann thrombasthenia (GT) is a rare inherited (genetic) disorder in which platelets do not function normally. The symptoms of this disease are bleeding from the gums, in the digestive tract, as well as purple-red spots on the skin called petechiae.

    You should visit your primary care physician. Treatment usually involves avoidance of antiplatelet medications such as aspirin, iron or folate supplementation, and platelet transfusion.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    unexplained bruising, nose bleed that started spontaneously, bright red (bloody) urine, bleeding gums, heavy menstrual flow
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Bleeding Gums Treatments and Relief

Bleeding gums should never be ignored. Very rarely will a trip to the emergency room be required but if your gums are bleeding due to injury or you can't get the bleeding to stop, head to the hospital.

You should be scheduling an appointment with your dentist every six months.

If you're experiencing bleeding gums, schedule an appointment sooner if:

  • Your gums bleed daily
  • You're experiencing pain that makes it difficult to eat
  • You notice large spaces or loose teeth

There are several approaches you can take to heal bleeding gums.

  • Proper hygiene: Brush twice each day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Floss daily and schedule check-ups with your dentist every six months or as recommended.
  • Essential oils: Certain essential oils boost gum health. Try mixing peppermint oil with a bit of baking soda and coconut oil for a homemade toothpaste.
  • Honey: Using unadulterated honey, place a small amount directly on irritated gum tissue. Its antibacterial and antiseptic properties will help the area heal.

With a detailed plan and commitment, bleeding gums can usually be reversed without any severe damage. You'll be getting compliments on your smile before you know it.

FAQs About Bleeding Gums

Here are some frequently asked questions about bleeding gums.

Will bleeding gums stain teeth?

Generally, bleeding gums may be a sign of chronic bacteria in the mouth and an early sign of gum disease. Blood and bleeding can stain teeth, especially around loose fillings or prior cavities. If you have bleeding gums when you floss, you should continue flossing and seek an appointment with a dentist for advice for the prevention of gum disease.

Can bleeding gums cause a throat infection?

No. Bleeding gums cannot cause a throat infection. A boil, cavity, or infection of the gum, however, can cause a throat infection as it produces bacteria that may cause a throat infection if it is not treated promptly. The best treatment for cavities, boils, or infections depends on the extent of the infection and the tissue affected.

Why do I have bleeding gums and bad breath?

Bleeding gums and bad breath are signs of bacterial colonization of the mouth and oropharynx (the back of the throat). Inadequate flossing can cause food particles to become stuck between the teeth. As these significant amounts of food rot, it may cause halitosis or very bad breath. Bleeding gums unrelated to bad breath, and if associated with spontaneous or easy bleeding elsewhere, should be investigated by your physician to exclude a clotting or blood disorder.

Are bleeding gums normal during teething?

A small amount of bleeding is normal, but larger amounts of bleeding may be a sign of a bacterial infection in a small child and may need treatment. Small children are extremely sensitive to infection and may exhibit behavior changes like tiredness or lethargy, colickyness or persistent crying, fast breathing or a fever if they have an infection.

Can pregnancy cause my gums to bleed?

Yes, there is a reported increase in the severity of gingival inflammation of gum swelling during pregnancy. The cause of this is unknown, but it is theorized that hormones present during pregnancy, like progesterone, cause progression of gingivitis by increasing sensitivity of the gums.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Bleeding Gums

  • Q.Is your bleeding constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Are you experiencing a headache?
  • Q.Is there anything affecting your ability to stop bleeding?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our bleeding gums symptom checker.

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Bleeding Gums Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced bleeding gums have also experienced:

    • 6% Fatigue
    • 3% Nausea
    • 2% Headache
  • People who have experienced bleeding gums had symptoms persist for:

    • 87% Less Than a Day
    • 6% Over a Month
    • 3% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced bleeding gums were most often matched with:

    • 61% Gingivitis
    • 38% Normal Bleeding After Dental Surgery

Bleeding Gums Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having bleeding gums.

Take a quiz