What Does it Mean if I Bleed When I Brush my Teeth?

Posted on 2/22/2021 by Cole Anderson, DMD, MS
What Does it Mean if I Bleed When I Brush my Teeth?For those patients who brush and floss with regularity, the discovery of blood in the washbowl when we are finished can be alarming. Those patients will immediately jump to the conclusion that they have oral cancer or some other terrible disease and while bleeding gums can be indicative of some underlying condition they are not all as serious as one might think.


The most likely cause of bleeding gums is gingivitis. This is caused by the build-up of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria are naturally occurring and provide a great service by keeping the mouth clean and helping digest remaining food particles from the mouth. However, when patients fail to brush and floss as they are recommended to do, these bacteria can build up to dangerous levels and begin to attack both gum tissue and teeth leading to decay and disease. It should be noted that gingivitis is considered the first stage in the progressive disease known as periodontal disease. The reason this is important is gingivitis is the only stage of the disease within which it can be reversed and completely cured.

Reason it Matters

Patients who realize they have gingivitis need to take steps to avoid letting it progress to the latter stages of periodontal disease which can be devastating to the tissues in the oral cavity. If bleeding gums are not treated it can lead to the bacteria building up to progress to plaque which can infect the inner tooth as well as the soft gum tissues. Once this occurs it can require costly dental procedures to correct and lead to widespread tooth loss and bone mass loss. The infection-causing gingivitis can also enter the blood stream and spread throughout the body wreaking havoc on other tissues such as the respiratory system and even the heart.

We want to make sure to prevent any gum issues that might arise. Let us help answer any questions you have by contact our office.

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