What are bleeding gums?

Bleeding from the gums is a common symptom of gum disease. Bleeding gums are most commonly caused by inadequate plaque removal from the teeth at the gum line, resulting in inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). However, persistent gum bleeding may also be associated with serious medical conditions, such as leukemia and coagulation and platelet disorders. In these conditions, easy bleeding or bruising is usually also noted elsewhere in the body.

Inflammation of the gum line may lead to a more advanced form of gum and jawbone disease known as periodontitis. Other common causes of bleeding gums include vitamin deficiencies and certain medications. Several classes of medications, especially blood thinners, have bleeding gums as a side effect.

Bleeding gums can be a sign of a serious condition.If you have bleeding gums that are persistent or cause you concern, or if you experience bleeding gums along with other serious symptoms, including severe bleeding, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), seek prompt medical care.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Gum symptoms that may occur along with bleeding gums

Bleeding gums may accompany other symptoms affecting the gum area including:

  • Bad breath
  • Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums
CAUSES

What causes bleeding gums?

Bleeding gums most commonly result from inadequate plaque removal from the teeth at the gum line, resulting in a condition called gingivitis, or inflamed gums. Infection of the gum line is a common cause of bleeding gums. If plaque is not removed it will harden into what is called tartar, resulting in increased bleeding and potentially a more advanced form of gum and jawbone disease known as pe... Read more about bleeding gumscauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Mouth, Teeth and Oral Health