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Westgate Dental

Help! My Gums Are Bleeding

Aug 01, 2023
If your gums bleed almost every time you brush and floss, it’s time to schedule an appointment with our experts. We can also show you ways to take a proactive role in your gum health.

Have you noticed blood when brushing or flossing? If so, you shouldn’t ignore it. 

Bleeding gums can mean you have an underlying oral health problem like gum disease that requires our attention and care here at Westgate Dental. You can rely on our team, led by Ryan Langel, DDS, and Jeremy Flinkman, DDS, to provide superior service and give you the best oral health possible.

Let’s look at why your gums might bleed and discuss ways to address this issue.

Possible causes of bleeding gums

Bleeding gums can occur for many reasons, including:


The most common cause of bleeding gums is gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. Poor oral hygiene allows plaque to build up on your teeth, leading to inflammation and bleeding gums. 

Preventive dentistry, such as regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings can prevent and reverse gingivitis.

Vigorous brushing

Brushing your teeth too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can cause your gums to bleed. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and practice gentle brushing techniques to avoid damaging your gums.

Flossing or dental work

If you’ve recently started flossing or had dental work done, your gums may bleed initially. This is usually temporary and should improve as your gums adjust. But if the bleeding persists or worsens, call our office.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy or menopause can make your gums more sensitive and prone to bleeding. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental checkups are especially important during these times.


Certain medications, such as blood thinners, can increase the risk of gum bleeding. If you're taking any medications, discuss your concerns with your health care provider to explore possible solutions.

Tips on how to address bleeding gums

To take care of your bleeding gums, you can be proactive by:

Improving oral hygiene

Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Don't forget to gently brush your gumline. Floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth.

Rinsing with saltwater

A saltwater rinse can reduce gum inflammation and promote healing. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.

Using an antiseptic mouthwash

An antiseptic mouthwash helps control bacterial growth and reduce gum inflammation. Look for a product with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval.

Scheduling regular dental visits

Book an appointment with our team every six months for professional cleanings and checkups so we can professionally clean your teeth and identify and address any underlying issues that may be contributing to your bleeding gums.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

A balanced diet and regular exercise contribute to your overall oral health. Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, as they can promote plaque buildup.

If you're experiencing bleeding gums, take action and address the issue promptly to improve your gum health and prevent further complications. Don't hesitate to consult our team if your bleeding persists or if you have any concerns.

If you have questions about bleeding gums, call our West Des Moines, Iowa, office today at 515-223-5001 or click here to request an appointment using our online form.