Do your gums bleed when you’re flossing them? If so, it’s not a signal to cut back. When flossing makes you bleed – as counterintuitive as it may sound – it’s often a signal that you need to do it more frequently.
Only about 40 percent of Americans floss every day, according to an American Dental Association study. Flossing daily is an essential part of everyone’s oral hygiene routine. Flossing removes particles of food and bacteria between teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.
Sometimes, bleeding gums are just a sign that your tissue is just adjusting to regular flossing. If you’re not flossing frequently enough, it’s time to become part of the minority who do it daily. The more you floss, the less your gums bleed.
Don’t confuse bleeding gums after flossing with bleeding gums after you brush, or just bleeding gums in general. Bleeding gums can be a symptom of gingivitis, which is the first stage of the disease. From there, it may spread deeper into tissues, and severely impact your oral health – up to tooth loss. In addition to bleeding gums, signs of gum disease include pus between teeth, receding gum line, bad breath and loose and shifting teeth.
If your gums are bleeding as they acclimate to your improved flossing regimen, you may also consider using an antibacterial mouthwash. Mouth rinses prevent bacteria that harden to produce plaque, and can help kill bacteria remaining on your gum tissue.
Bleeding gums isn’t just an issue of oral health: New studies show a link between gum disease and heart disease. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why this is yet, but most agree that strong oral hygiene habits are now part of a heart-smart lifestyle.
When flossing makes you bleed, it’s a sign you need to make changes. While these may be simple, if gum disease is advanced, you’ll need to speak with a dentist. Visit our Request an Appointment page to start scheduling yours.