dental patient getting her teeth and gums examined

Bleeding Gums


Healthgrades Editorial Staff

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.

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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.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Oct 26, 2016

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Medical References

  1. Gingivitis. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH.
  2. Bleeding gums. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
  3. Mealey B, Genco R, Cohen W (Eds). Periodontics Medicine, Surgery, and Implants. St. Louis: Elsevier Mosby, 2004.

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