What It Really Means When Your Gums Always Bleed

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you may wonder if it's anything of concern. After all, bleeding is generally a sign that something is wrong, so what should you do to fix the situation?

To get answers, Health Digest spoke with registered dental hygienist Whitney DiFoggio, RDH, BS, founder of TeethTalkGirl.com. She said that going too long between dental appointments can be one cause of bleeding gums. "If there is tartar buildup on your teeth, it cannot be properly removed at home. Only plaque can be removed at home with a toothbrush and floss — not tartar!" said DiFoggio. A professional can remove the tartar and its resulting bacteria, which will cause the bleeding to subside.

Another reason for bleeding is improper care of teeth at home, which allows tartar to build up. Flossing, or cleaning between the teeth, removes food and prevents the formation of tartar. "There are multiple options to remove debris from between your teeth — including flossing, inter-dental brushing and/or water flossing," she said. To find out which type of flossing is best for your needs, speak with your dentist.

Proper care of your gums at home is vital

Even if you do brush and floss correctly, the most important thing is consistency. Cleaning teeth too infrequently can lead to bleeding gums and other dental problems. "You need to dedicate the time to properly brush your teeth at least twice each day and clean between your teeth at least once each day," said DiFoggio. The more regularly your gums are stimulated, "the firmer, pinker, and healthier they will be — and the less likely they will bleed," she added.

There is a subset of people who may experience bleeding gums even with proper home care and regular dental checkups. DiFoggio recommends that these people speak to their dentist about a possible systemic problem. "If your gums are healthy, but there is still bleeding, it might be a good idea to ask your dentist if they recommend a visit to your primary physician to determine if any systemic, overall health conditions are apparent," she advised.