Why do my gums bleed when I floss?

 In flossing, gum disease, sensitive teeth

Do your gums bleed when you floss? Don’t give up on flossing! We frequently hear that bleeding gums are a reason our patients quit flossing altogether. They say how sensitive their gums are and believe that is normal. Well, it isn’t normal.

Bleeding gums are a sign that something is wrong. Healthy gums are not puffy and sensitive. They shouldn’t bleed with a gentle flossing. Inflammation and bleeding can mean that bacteria is building up around your teeth and under your gums causing these symptoms.

Gingivitis, or the inflammation of gums that occur when bacterial plaque is present, is developing. It can be mild at first and then become a more aggressive problem with time. But don’t worry … Gingivitis is reversible. You should act fast to remedy the problem before an irreversible chronic and degenerative disease called periodontitis takes hold. With periodontitis, tooth loss is likely.

If your gums are bleeding when you floss, make sure that you’re flossing gently. Aggressive flossing can injure the gums leaving them cut and raw. Make sure to use a C- shape when flossing.  A gentle hand and time investment can make all the difference in your gum health. Flossing cleans in the spaces your toothbrush cannot reach and disrupts plaque buildup. If regular string flossing is a struggle, there are alternative options such as a water flosser. Don’t stop flossing as you will miss nearly half of all areas of your mouth that need attention.

Consider a more balanced diet to help develop and maintain strong, decay-resistant teeth. Also, if you smoke, consider options to help you quit. The American Dental Association states that using tobacco increases your risk of developing periodontal disease.

If you’ve been brushing and flossing twice a day for up to 10 days and still see blood, you should see your dental hygienist at SmilesRForever Dentistry. We’ll evaluate your technique and see if there is a need for a gum treatment. Contact us at 618-939-4042 to schedule an appointment.