You want to do the right thing, so you start flossing. Then you notice bleeding. “Why do my gums bleed when I floss?” you ask yourself. Unfortunately, the likely answer is inflammation of the gums.
Bleeding is usually a sign that you need to floss more often and take better overall care of your oral health. You can kick start things with a trip to My Family Dentistry for cleaning and treatment to reverse the inflammation.
How Plaque & Bacteria Lead to Bleeding Gums
Food particles get stuck in your teeth and cause bacterial growth that leads to plaque buildup. Plaque causes gingivitis, which is the inflammation of the gums in the early stages of gum disease.
When your gums are irritated by plaque, extra blood flows to the area to flush away bacteria and toxins, causing inflammation. It’s the same process that happens when you get an injury or infection elsewhere in your body and it swells.
If you brush or floss when your gums are already swollen and irritated, they may bleed a little bit. Flossing should not harm healthy gums — it causes unhealthy gums to bleed out of those blisters.
- Floss daily, and the bleeding should subside within a few days. If you reverse the inflammation, your gums should no longer bleed.
- If bleeding persists with gentle daily flossing, schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible.
Flossing Incorrectly Can Cause Bleeding Gums
Do you floss daily, brush your teeth at least twice a day, and see the dentist every six months? If so, and you still experience bleeding gums from flossing, take a moment to review proper flossing technique.
- Floss gently while making sure you reach every small crevice. If you can’t reach the tough spots without getting aggressive, try using a water flossing system instead.
- Make sure you’re brushing gently in a circular pattern with a soft toothbrush. Don’t scrub your gums with a firm brush and up-and-down motions – you can damage them and cause them to recede.
Other Reasons Why Gums Bleed from Flossing
If you think you’re doing everything right but still wondering, “why do my gums bleed when I floss?” then you should be aware of other factors. Some people have a genetic predisposition to oral health problems, including gum disease specifically. Stress can also contribute to inflammation and bleeding.
Other key factors include:
- Diet: Keep your gum tissue healthy by drinking lots of water and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet low in sugars.
- Smoking: Tobacco use inflames the gums and makes the tissue more susceptible to disease.
- Medications: Certain drugs can affect blood flow and make your gums more likely to bleed during flossing. If you suspect that’s the case, talk to your dentist and doctor about what to do.
Most of the time, bleeding gums are a sign that too much plaque and bacteria have built up inside your mouth. Don’t blame flossing! Floss more, and come in to get Dr. Mullins’ opinion if you continue to experience bleeding.