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Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Floss?

In most cases, bleeding gums result from poor oral hygiene habits or inflammation.

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Do your gums bleed when you floss? If so, you’re not alone. Many people experience bleeding gums when they floss, but it’s not necessarily a cause for concern. Keep reading to learn more about why your gums may bleed when you floss

Some Bleeding While Flossing Is Not Uncommon

It can be normal to experience some light bleeding when you floss, especially if you’ve just changed your flossing routine. The bleeding should stop after a few minutes any time it happens. It also shouldn’t happen after a few days of the new routine. If bleeding continues, there may be another reason for it and you should ask your dentist about it.

What Can Cause Bleeding During Flossing?

a man holding an e-cigarette in one hand and regular cigarettes in the other hand

Keeping our mouths healthy by flossing regularly is important, but sometimes it can lead to bleeding gums. Bleeding gums can be caused by a few things, such as:

  • improper flossing technique
  • plaque build-up
  • hormone levels
  • mouth irritants

You Might Be Flossing Too Hard

A common cause for bleeding gums is that you might be flossing with too much pressure or improper technique. Using gentle yet firm motion will remove plaque buildup between your teeth without further affecting your gums. Take extra care when brushing and flossing. If your gums still bleed after more gentle methods, check in with your dentist for proper advice.

Be Gentle While Cleaning Your Teeth

Bleeding gums when you floss means that your teeth and gums are not as healthy as they could be. If this is happening to you, the first thing to try is switching out your toothbrush for a softer version and being gentler when you brush and floss. Of course, if that doesn’t help, it’s always a good idea to talk to your dentist about your oral care routine to see if there’s something else you can do to keep your teeth and gums in perfect condition.

You May Have Gum Disease

Seeing blood when you floss your teeth may be alarming, but there’s no need to panic. There are a couple of explanations for why your gums might bleed when flossing.

Persistent Bleeding Is a Sign of Gingivitis

First, if the bleeding is persistent, it could indicate gum disease. Therefore, visit your dentist regularly and let them know if persistent bleeding is a problem. They can help you evaluate the health of your gums and identify an appropriate treatment plan, if necessary.

You May Be Experiencing Hormonal Changes

High levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone can result in increased blood flow to your gums, making them more sensitive. This heightened sensitivity may cause inflammation, swelling, or bleeding when bacteria are present. The American Dental Association has identified key hormonal events that can amplify gum sensitivity:

  • puberty
  • menstruation
  • taking birth control medications
  • pregnancy
  • menopause

Oral Irritants May Be Making Your Gums Sore

a man holding an e-cigarette in one hand and regular cigarettes in the other hand

Like other body parts, your gums can become vulnerable to environmental changes. Consuming sugary or unhealthy foods and snacks or using a dental appliance that doesn’t fit properly could cause an adverse reaction to your oral health. As our bodies naturally adapt, it is important to be mindful of the external factors that may impact sensitive gums.

Certain Foods Can Inflame Your Gums

A nutritious diet is the best way to protect your gums from inflammation or other discomforts. However, even some seemingly wholesome foods, such as meals with tomatoes and drinks containing lemon, can still be acidic, so choosing wisely is important. Consuming too much sugar or acidity may result in gum issues if not properly managed.

Dental Appliances Can Cause Irritation

Your teeth and gums may have become sensitive due to braces, retainers, dentures, or other orthodontic appliances you wear. If this is a relatively new appliance for you, it’s perfectly normal to feel out-of-the-ordinary sensations as your body adjusts.

If you have noticed your dental appliance becoming worn down, damaged, or causing persistent irritation in your mouth area, visit your dentist immediately. Your dental professional can adjust and customize the device for improved fit and comfort.

Persistent Bleeding Should Not Occur

While some bleeding during a flossing routine may be common and sometimes be caused by vigorous brushing or using a toothbrush with hard bristles, ongoing bleeding gums should not be considered normal. If your gums are still bleeding after further adjustments to your brushing and flossing technique, it is important to consult your dentist to evaluate the condition. Remember, regular checkups help ensure healthy gums and teeth in the long run.

How Can I Manage Bleeding Gums?

While it can be annoying and alarming to feel your gums bleed when flossing, there are many ways of managing and resolving this problem. If the bleeding is persistent even after trying gentler techniques for brushing and flossing, it’s advised that you visit your dentist for an evaluation. Especially since untreated gum disease can cause bigger problems down the line, with proper care from a dental professional and necessary lifestyle changes like reduced sugar intake, you’ll be back on track with healthy teeth and gums.

If you have concerns about your dental health, contact your dentist to schedule an appointment today.

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