Flossing is quick, easy, and essential for good oral health. By simply guiding floss between your teeth and curving it along each tooth, you can remove food debris and bacteria that would otherwise cause tooth decay and gum inflammation. However, sometimes you might spot a little blood when flossing. Whether you notice it on your teeth, on your gums, or in your spit when you rinse, blood should be viewed as a warning sign. Why do my gums bleed when I floss? Let’s explore a few potential causes . . .
Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Floss?
You aren’t brushing and/or flossing often enough.
First, it’s important to note that it’s relatively common to experience a little bleeding when you begin flossing more regularly. As long as the bleeding lessens over time, you shouldn’t worry. Though it may seem to go against logic, it’s important that you continue flossing daily and brushing your teeth twice a day. This helps remove plaque, reduce gum inflammation, and improve overall oral health.
You’re not brushing and/or flossing properly.
Remember that flossing and brushing more vigorously isn’t more effective. In fact, it can lead to enamel loss and gum recession. Be gentle when flossing and brushing. Don’t push the floss too far into the gums, and use a clean section of floss for each new set of teeth. Make sure that you’re following the curve of the tooth to clean along the gumline as well. When brushing your teeth, make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it whenever the bristles begin to fray. Brush for two minutes, making sure to hit the surface area of every tooth. If you’re concerned that you’re not brushing or flossing correctly, ask your dental hygienist for advice.
You have periodontal disease.
This goes hand in hand with the previous two causes. If you don’t brush and floss frequently enough or you’re not brushing and flossing properly, you may develop periodontal disease. If you catch the disease in its earliest stage – gingivitis – it is completely reversible with treatment. Typically, you will simply need to schedule a dental appointment to have your teeth professionally cleaned to remove all plaque and tartar. Then, you must commit to a good oral health routine at home. More severe periodontal disease will require more intensive treatment.
You’re experiencing a hormonal change.
Sometimes bleeding gums have nothing to do with your oral health routine. Instead, they might be caused by a fluctuation in hormones. You may experience bleeding gums if you’re on your menstrual cycle, going through puberty, on birth control, currently pregnant, or in menopause. The shift in hormones may increase blood flow, leading to inflamed or bleeding gums. Hormones can also affect your blood vessels and your body’s immune response.
You have a medical condition or take certain medications.
Certain conditions increase the likelihood of your gums bleeding while flossing or brushing. For example, vitamin C or K deficiencies may contribute to bleeding gums. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes can also cause bleeding gums, as can leukemia and hemophilia. In addition, some medications can cause bleeding gums, including blood thinners.
However, if your gums are bleeding, don’t panic! The vast majority of the time, bleeding gums are caused by poor brushing and/or flossing and you can fix the issue by improving your daily oral health routine.
Why do my gums bleed when I floss? One or more of the reasons listed above is likely the culprit. But if your gums often bleed, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with your dentist to get to the bottom of the issue.
P.S. If your gums are also causing you pain, check out our blog post Why Do My Gums Hurt?
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist near Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. For exceptional and comprehensive dental care, schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or requesting an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!