The Connection Between Bleeding Gums and Plaque

The Connection Between Bleeding Gums and Plaque

One of the most common indicators of dental troubles is bleeding gums. Patients often first notice bleeding while brushing and flossing their teeth. Some people may not realize the significance of this symptom, however. It is important for dental patients who notice any bleeding in the gums following brushing or flossing of the teeth to go to the dentist. While gums may bleed on occasion due to brushing too hard, bleeding most often happens because of a buildup of plaque that occurs on the teeth and gumline.

How bleeding gums and plaque are connected

Bleeding gums are often a direct result of plaque buildup. Plaque is a sticky film full of bacteria that forms on teeth after eating and drinking. It typically starts building up on the teeth within 12 hours after brushing but can begin forming in as little as four hours. Foods and beverages high in sugars or carbs encourage plaque.

It is important to thoroughly brush the teeth twice a day to help prevent the buildup of plaque. When possible, rinse the mouth out after consuming sweet foods and drinks, and floss at least once daily. If left untreated, plaque can lead to many dental health issues.

How plaque can lead to gum disease

Plaque directly leads to the development of bleeding gums. When plaque is on the gumline for extended periods of time, it can result in irritation and cause redness, swelling, and bleeding. Plaque may also lead to the development of tartar, which is a hard deposit that adheres onto teeth and can only be removed by a dentist. If tartar is not removed, it can lead to the development of gum disease and cause gums to bleed.


Gingivitis is a form of early gum disease that occurs from plaque lingering on the gum lines for a long period of time. It causes sore gums and swelling, as well as bleeding. Plaque that is adhered to the gum line and hardened into tartar can result in increased bleeding.


Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease. If gingivitis is left untreated, it will result in the development of periodontitis. This severe form of gum disease can cause further bleeding gums and infects the jawbone. It is imperative to treat periodontitis as soon as possible as the condition can eventually result in the loss of teeth and jawbone, as well as infections affecting the rest of the body.


Poor dental hygiene habits can lead to the buildup of plaque on the teeth that may in turn develop into gum disease. Bleeding gums are often an early sign of this condition. It is important for patients to receive treatment from a dentist as soon as possible to mitigate the progression of the disease and protect the teeth and gums. Practicing proper oral hygiene and visiting a dentist twice a year for routine checkups can help preserve a patient's smile for years to come.

Request an appointment or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at 602-547-9007 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.


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