Why Does Flossing Cause My Gums To Bleed?

Many people experience bleeding of their gums when they brush or floss their teeth. While some may simply disregard it and think it’s a normal, everyday thing, this is actually not the case. In reality, when your gums bleed from brushing your teeth or even from flossing, it signifies that you have a problem.

Generally speaking, it’s true that your gums might bleed if you are too aggressive while brushing your teeth. You can also have bleeding of the gums if you floss only once in a while.

Health Conditions That Can Lead To Bleeding

There are some medical conditions that can cause your gums to bleed. These include:

  • An injury or canker sore on your gums can also lead to pain and bleeding.
  • Women can experience bleeding gums while practicing oral hygiene due to hormonal fluctuations associated with their menstrual periods or pregnancy.
  • However, the bigger picture with bleeding gums while brushing and flossing can be a sign of a gum disease. If you have bleeding, tenderness, redness and inflammation, you may have gingivitis or, even worse, periodontitis.
  • If you have a gum disease, it’s absolutely essential that you make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible to get treatment. Gingivitis can be reversed, while periodontitis cannot but can be treated.

Incorrect Oral Hygeiene Can Lead To Bleeding Gums

If you have been diligently brushing your teeth and flossing on a daily basis, you might be surprised to see that your gums are still bleeding. It’s not unusual for dentists and hygienists to see patients who report regularly practicing good oral hygiene but still experiencing bleeding gums.

In some cases, the problem may be that the person is not flossing properly. While flossing, you must alternate and cradle either side of each tooth so you can grab the food particles and plaque between them and under the gumline. It may take some time and hard effort to truly perfect the technique.

In other cases, you might even be using the wrong toothbrush or brushing too hard, which causes your gums to bleed. If you use a regular brush, the bristles should be soft. If they are too hard, this can irritate your gums. With an electric toothbrush, if you press too hard on your gums while brushing, it can put additional strain on your gums as well and lead to bleeding.

However, usually, when your gums bleed while you’re practicing regular oral hygiene, it means you have a gum disease. Although you may think you are brushing and flossing properly, it may not be effective at eliminating the buildup of bacteria that develops under your gumline. Sometimes, it’s simply due to not spending enough time brushing or not using the floss effectively enough to eliminate all the plaque.

Should I Floss More or Less if My Gums are Bleeding?

Flossing should be a regular part of your daily oral hygiene routine. While you might think that you should stop doing it because your gums are bleeding, the opposite is actually true. Bleeding gums usually signify a deeper problem of gum disease, which means you should actually floss even more.

Flossing is the best way to eliminate food particles stuck between your teeth and under your gumline if you are not able to immediately go to the dentist’s office for a routine checkup, cleaning and scaling and root planing. If you skip your regular flossing routine, it can put you at an even greater risk of developing periodontitis, a gum disease that is irreversible and that can lead to receding gums and tooth loss.

Other Ways I Can Help My Bleeding Gums to Heal

There are certain steps you can take to ensure that your bleeding gums can heal. They include the following:

Practice good oral hygiene: Always practice good oral hygiene and brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss one time per day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and get good quality floss or handheld flossers if you have difficulty using regular floss.
Quit smoking: If you are a smoker, now is the time to stop. Smokers have a higher risk of not only gum disease but also heart disease, stroke and lung disease.
Rinse with hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is a good disinfectant for your mouth. As a result, you can rinse with it to stop your gums from bleeding and remove excess plaque as well.
Take more vitamin C and vitamin K: Increasing your intake of vitamin C can help heal your bleeding gums. You can get more vitamin C by taking supplements and consume foods like oranges, carrots, red peppers and sweet potatoes. You can take vitamin K supplements and get it naturally in foods like spinach, kale, mustard greens and collard greens.
Reduce your carb intake: Reducing your intake of carbohydrates can help to improve your gum health and soothe bleeding gums. Carbs have more sugars, which can promote the growth of more bacteria in between your teeth and under your gumline.
Drink green tea: Green tea has natural antioxidants that can help to heal inflammation in the mouth and improve the health of your gums.
Rinse with saltwater: Rinsing out your mouth with saltwater also helps to heal bleeding gums. It can ease inflammation and reduce the amount of bacteria as well.

In addition to these steps, you should also make sure to go for regular dental appointments at least once every six months. If you have a problem that’s bigger than simply bleeding gums, the dentist or hygienist can provide you with the necessary treatment to help you.