What does it mean when your gums bleed?

Bleeding Gums Brisbane

What does it mean when your gums bleed?

Seeing blood in your sink after you’ve brushed your teeth may be a little distressing to many, but don’t worry, you don’t have to panic.


Oral health doesn’t begin and end with your teeth. Gums play an important role in maintaining your oral health. Your gums are the first line of defence to stop harmful bacteria from multiplying and entering your body.

If you look in the mirror at your gums they should be a light shade of pink and make a semi-circle around the top of your teeth. Your gums should also be firm to touch and not swollen or puffy.

What causes bleeding gums?

Gingivitis (gum disease)

Gingivitis occurs when you don’t brush or floss regularly enough and bacteria (called plaque) has time to build up in the grooves around your teeth.  As these bacteria multiply and move around they can irritate your gums. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and the most common symptom of gingivitis is bleeding gums, red and sensitive gums, and bad breath.

Luckily, gingivitis is reversible. Your dentist can clean away plaque and bacteria and if you improve your flossing and brushing routine you can keep the bacteria away for good. If left untreated, however, your gums can start to pull away from your teeth leaving room for bacteria to grow and this damage can be irreversible.


Some medicines can make your gums more susceptible to bleeding even if your brushing and flossing routine is up to par. Some medicines like blood thinners and Aspirin can keep your blood from clotting and may cause your gums to bleed for a long time after brushing.

By telling your dentist what medications you’re taking, they can then give you the correct care and advice.

A new oral health routine

If you have recently started brushing more, have bought a new toothbrush, or started using a different type of floss, your gums may bleed until your mouth gets used to your new routine. As you practice these good habits you brush away bacteria and plaque from your gums and they should bleed less and less. Eventually, they will stop bleeding altogether.


When you are pregnant, changes in your hormones can affect your entire body and your gums are susceptible to “pregnancy gingivitis”. Your gums may swell and become more sensitive than usual which can cause bleeding when brushing and flossing. Talk to your dentist about ways to care for your oral health while pregnant.

What to consider if you have bleeding gums

Bleeding gums are not normal and they are a sign you need to make positive changes to your oral health routine. Some tips to improve your oral hygiene are to:

  • Brush and floss twice a day
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Use an electric toothbrush
  • Avoid tobacco
  • Visit your dentist for regular check-ups

When to see your dentist about bleeding gums

The dentists at Crookes and Jenkins Dental recommend visits every six months to maintain good oral health and catch any diseases and decay as quickly as possible. If you improve your brushing and flossing, your bleeding gums may subside. However, if your gums become swollen, sensitive to temperatures, or you have bad breath and a constant bad taste in your mouth, you should book in to see your dentist.

For more information on gum disease or to request an appointment at Crookes and Jenkins Dental at Rosalie, please contact us today.

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