Bleeding gums

There are many reasons why you may experience bleeding gums from something simple, like using the wrong technique when you brush or floss, or it could be a sign of a more serious issue such as a health condition you need to check out.

Common Causes

You may have bleeding gums if you:

  • Have gum disease that causes inflammation of the gums (gingivitis or periodontitis)
  • Brush too hard or your toothbrush is too hard
  • Just started a flossing routine and your gums aren't used to it yet
  • Take certain medications, like blood thinners
  • Have inflamed gums because you're pregnant (pregnancy gingivitis)
  • Have dentures that don't fit well
  • Faulty dental restorations
  • Underlying medical condition such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, discuss this with your Prospect Street Dental Practice dentist or hygienist at your next review. If you are suffering inflammation or discomfort, don’t wait for your next review, give us a call on 0118 947 2517 or as soon as possible to get it checked out.


Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth - a sticky substance that contains bacteria. Some bacteria in plaque are harmless, but some are harmful for the health of your gums.

If you do not remove plaque from your teeth by brushing them regularly, it builds up, particularly under the gum line and hardens into tartar, which becomes more difficult to remove. Tartar can irritate your gums and lead to redness with bleeding, swelling and soreness.

Gingivitis can be prevented and often managed with a good oral hygiene regime. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss every day, rinse daily with an antibacterial mouthwash, and see your dentist regularly.

During your routine reviews and dental hygiene visits at Prospect Street Dental Practice we will address any early signs of gum disease, giving your teeth a thorough clean and remove any hardened plaque (tartar). We will also show you how to clean your teeth effectively to help prevent plaque building up in the future.

If you have an increased risk of developing gum problems (for example, you smoke or have diabetes), you may be advised to visit Prospect Street Dental Practice more often so your teeth and gums can be closely monitored.

If you don't take care of your gingivitis in its early stages, the original plaque build up develops into a harder, more damaging substance known as tartar. Tartar is difficult to remove, hides under the gum line and contains more harmful bacteria. If tartar is not effectively removed, bacteria will develop further and start to damage the soft tissue around the gums, creating pockets between the gumline and the teeth. 

Once these pockets are formed, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the disease as they create hard to reach areas for bacteria to continue to develop. 

At this stage, this can lead to a more progressive form of gum disease known as periodontal disease or periodontics.


Periodontics is a serious gum infection that, without treatment, can eventually destroy the bone that supports your teeth, leading to loose teeth or even tooth loss.

There are wider health risks associated with periodontics too. The bacteria responsible for periodontitis can enter your bloodstream through gum tissue, possibly affecting other parts of your body. For example, periodontics is linked with respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease and problems controlling blood sugar in diabetes.

Signs of Periodontics include:

  • Gums bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums pull away from the base of your teeth
  • Bad breath and/or bad taste in your mouth

If you have Periodontitis you will need to regularly see the Prospect Street Dental Practice dental and hygiene team to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums and manage the condition. In some cases, surgery may need to be carried out, usually performed by a dental specialist in gum problems (periodontist).

When to see your dentist or hygienist

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you should discuss this with your Prospect Street Dental Practice dentist or hygienist at your next review. If, however you are suffering from painful, swollen gums, don’t wait for your next review. Give us a call on 0118 947 2517 or as soon as possible to get it checked out.

We have a registered specialist in Periodontics here at Prospect Street Dental Practice, who has advanced skills and a wealth of experience in managing advanced gum disease.

We will carry out a thorough dental examination to check the health of your gums. In some cases, a number of X-rays may be needed to check the condition of your teeth and jaw bone.