Reasons why your gums bleed when you brush

It is something that many people associate solely with gum disease but when you’re brushing your teeth and you spit the toothpaste out of your mouth only to see blood, there may be many underlying reasons why this has occurred.

Of course, it can be frightening as nobody wants to see blood when they spit their toothpaste out! While prolonged bleeding whilst brushing should always be investigated by your dental team, in most instances, it will clear up on its own, unless there is an underlying medical condition which needs to be assessed.

So, in this short article, a dentist Luton will explain why your gums may be bleeding when you brush your teeth.

Incorrect brushing technique

When you brush your teeth, are you brushing them up and down or side to side? It is possible that the reason your gums are bleeding is simply because of an incorrect brushing technique. In order to remove all of the plaque and bacteria from your gums, you need to use small circular motions and try to take it easy when the tooth hits the gum line. Alternatively, it may be due to an incorrect flossing technique, especially if you floss your teeth before you brush, which can cause the bleed to look like it is associated with the brushing. So, speak to your dental team for further guidance.

Brushing too hard

Much like incorrect brushing techniques, many people are unaware that they are simply brushing their teeth too hard which can of course cause the gums to bleed, become sore and erode which are all of the symptomatic markers of gum disease! Luckily, a dental team will be able to spot if your bleeding gums are in fact due to you brushing too hard. They will be able to recommend a suitable toothbrush to prevent you from doing further damage, after which, your gums should regrow.

Gum disease

Gum disease in the early stages is characterised by bleeding when you brush. But as mentioned earlier, it is also associated with extensive discomfort when pressure is applied to the gums and even discolouration and inflammation. Your dental team will be able to spot the signs of gum disease and will aim to treat it, usually with an antibacterial toothpaste, mouthwash and a scale and polish, which will remove the offensive plaque and allow your gums to heal.


Bleeding gums when you’re brushing your teeth could be down to something as simple as an injury which you have sustained in the last few days. Alternatively, if you have had a tooth extracted and there is now bleeding when you brush your teeth, this should not come as much of a surprise, and you should refrain from brushing the extraction site for a few days to prevent dry socket.


There are many medications that can cause your gums to become hypersensitive and to bleed, particularly blood thinning medications like warfarin and heparin. But if the bleed is persistent when brushing your teeth, you will need to talk to your prescribing doctor about this side effect and how to manage it.