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It is common for gums to bleed when flossing. There can be any number of reasons why they bleed. However, bleeding gums often indicate other underlying problems. Sometimes, when gums bleed when flossing, it’s a simple fix like technique. Other times, it’s a sign of a more serious problem like periodontal disease.

Six Reasons Your Gums Bleed When Flossing

There are many possible reasons for gums to bleed. Here are some of the most common reasons for bleeding gums during flossing.

  •   A buildup of bacteria around a filling or a crown can cause gum tissue to become irritated.
  •   Poor brushing and flossing techniques may cause bleeding.
  •    A layer of tartar or calculus on the teeth can cause gums to bleed.
  •    Not keeping up with regular cleanings can lead to a lot of tartar buildup.
  •    Bleeding gums are sometimes a sign of irritation or gum disease.

What to do if your gums bleed while flossing

If you notice bleeding when you are flossing, it doesn’t mean you are doing more harm than good. Usually, after regular proper flossing, it will go away. You may be tempted to stop flossing in areas that bleed when flossed. Actually, you need to brush and floss the area more often. If you have properly flossed for a week to 10 days and your gums still bleed while you are flossing, schedule an appointment with Dr. Mulandi. He can evaluate your flossing technique for you. He can also check your gums for any signs of disease.

Is there a proper technique?

Often, correcting your flossing technique is all that is needed to prevent your gums from bleeding. The reason you floss is to remove the sticky plaque that builds up between your teeth and gums. The proper technique includes:

  •  Using floss to go to the base of the triangle between each tooth.
  •  Go down as far as you can without cutting the tissue or gums.
  •  Carefully work the floss between your teeth. They are supposed to be tight. Gently move the floss back and forth from the direction of your cheek toward your tongue. Don’t let the floss snap too deeply into the gums, as this can cut the tissue, but allow it to gently scoop around the base of the tooth near the gum line.
  •  Place the floss between the tooth and gum tissue.
  •  Gently push the floss against the tooth and scrape it straight up and out. Do this to each tooth individually. Make sure to get both sides of each tooth. As you move from tooth to tooth, use fresh floss on each tooth to reduce the transfer of bacteria from one tooth to the next.

Brushing Your Teeth Can Prevent Bleeding During Flossing

Brushing should be part of your daily oral care routine. Like flossing, it should be done properly. Using the right technique for brushing your teeth can help prevent gums from bleeding. When brushing with a manual toothbrush, be sure to:

  •  Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles.
  •  Remember to brush your gums when you brush your teeth. Make sure the crevices between teeth and gums get brushed.
  •  Brush behind the last tooth on each side.

It is common for your gums to become a little bit sore if you start brushing more regularly. They may even bleed a little if you haven’t been brushing routinely. This should not get worse and should subside in a week or so.

Contact Your North Conway Dentist

If you have been brushing and flossing your teeth every day for a week or more, and your gums still bleed when flossing, it’s time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mulandi. After a careful examination, he can recommend brushing and flossing techniques. Bleeding gums can also be a sign of gum disease. An early diagnosis is key to successful treatment. Call us today with your questions and concerns. 

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