Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Floss?

A young woman flossing her teeth.

Have you noticed that your gums bleed when flossing? Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing are often swollen or inflamed, which can be caused by a variety of issues. One of the main causes of bleeding gums is gingivitis, or periodontal disease, which can cause the gums to be swollen. If you wonder, “Why do my gums bleed when I floss or brush my teeth?” and how to stop bleeding gums, here are the common causes and solutions.

What Causes Gums to Bleed When Flossing?

If your gums bleed when flossing or brushing, you are not alone. Many people have experienced bleeding gums when performing oral hygiene. There are many possible causes, most revolving around oral hygiene. Individuals that perform daily flossing and brush twice a day with regular cleanings and checkups at their dentist are less likely to have problems with gums bleeding. Some of the possible causes include:

  • Infrequent or aggressive flossing. If you do not floss every day, your gums may be more likely to bleed when you floss. You may also be flossing too vigorously, causing irritation to the gum tissue and subsequent bleeding.
  • Plaque buildup. Bacteria in the mouth cause plaque, the film that builds up on and between the teeth. Too much plaque buildup on teeth can irritate and inflame the gums, which can be why your gums bleed when flossing.
  • Gingivitis or gum disease. Bleeding gums are a sign of possible gum disease or gingivitis. Inflammation and irritation of the gums caused by excess plaque and tartar can lead to these periodontal conditions.

Oral hygiene is the key factor in gum health. If you have bleeding gums, it is important to consider improving your oral hygiene habits if you notice blood when flossing or blood in your spit after brushing your teeth. Sometimes when your gums bleed when flossing, it is just a sign that you need to floss carefully and more often to remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth. Improving your oral hygiene habits may be all you need to do to stop your gums from bleeding when you floss.

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How To Stop Bleeding Gums

When you notice that your gums bleed when flossing, it is time to take a closer look at your oral hygiene routine. In many cases, your bleeding gums can be fixed by some changes to your flossing and brushing habits. If you are wondering how to stop bleeding gums, try following these tips:

  • Thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss between all your teeth every day
  • Be careful when flossing – slowly floss back and forth to avoid gum aggravation
  • Use mouthwash daily to combat bacteria and plaque
  • Receive professional teeth cleanings at least twice a year

Even if you follow a thorough oral hygiene routine every day, you can still have inflamed gum tissue. When you are performing excellent oral hygiene and you still have bleeding gums, it is time to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning. Bleeding gums can be a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease, which can lead to serious oral and overall health concerns. If it has been more than six months since your last cleaning or checkup, it is time to schedule a visit to your dental professional.

Dental Treatment for Bleeding Gums

The first step in treating bleeding gums is a periodontal exam, followed by a teeth cleaning. Your dental health provider can schedule a dental cleaning with a dental hygienist to check your gum health. During your visit, the dental hygienist will inspect your gum tissue for signs of gingivitis or gum disease. If you have receding gum tissue, the pocket depth between the teeth and gums will be measured. Your hygienist will thoroughly clean the teeth to remove any plaque or tartar that is irritating the gum tissue.
A woman  looking at her teeth and gums in the mirror.
If you are diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, treatment will be recommended to stop the gum bleeding and infection. Depending on the stage of periodontal disease, treatment may include more frequent dental cleanings, deep cleanings, medication or oral surgery. Your hygienist and dentist will recommend the best treatment plan for improving your gum and oral health. By undergoing treatment for your gum infection, it can improve your gum health and stop your gums from bleeding when you floss.

Now you know the possible answers to the question, “Why do my gums bleed when I floss?” and the solutions on how to stop bleeding gums. In most cases, improving your home oral hygiene routine can minimize gum inflammation and bleeding, but you also need regular teeth cleanings to maintain optimal oral health. Make sure you are receiving teeth cleanings twice a year, or as recommended by your dentist and hygienist to keep your teeth and gums healthy.