My Gums Bleed Every Time I Floss. Should I Be Concerned?

It’s astonishing that so few Americans understand how important it is to have your dental health evaluated if you have bleeding gums, given that most adults over 40 remember visiting the dentist at least twice a year as children.

If your gums bleed when you floss, it’s likely that you have a dental or other health concern which should be addressed as soon as possible. Bleeding gums are never normal, nor something to get used to. They are a signal to call your dentist and have your gums evaluated for further treatment.

bleeding-gums

What Causes Bleeding Gums?

Your dentist will want to take a close look at your bleeding gums and ask questions about your oral care habits and general health. Some causes of bleeding gums include:

  • Brushing or flossing with too much force
  • Gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Use of tobacco products
  • Vitamin deficiencies, especially vitamin C or vitamin K
  • Poorly fitting dentures
  • Orthodontic braces in need of adjustment
  • Diseases marked by blood clotting problems, such as hemophilia or leukemia
  • Taking prescription blood thinners

Regardless of why your gums bleed when you floss, your dentist can help determine the cause and proper treatment.

How Can I Take Better Care Of My Gums?

If your bleeding gums stem from a condition related to your oral health, there are several steps you can take to improve the state of your gums.

  1. Learn proper techniques to brush and floss. Your dental team can demonstrate how to get your teeth clean and not cause bleeding by brushing or flossing too roughly.
  2. Stop smoking. Quitting tobacco products reduces inflammation of your gums and allows them to heal.
  3. Rinse your mouth with salt water regularly. Rinsing with a cup of warm water and about half a teaspoon of salt several times a day can help reduce gum bleeding. Swish the water in your mouth for a few seconds each time, then spit it out.

“If you have bleeding gums when you floss, make a dental appointment so your dentist can help you discover the cause of the bleeding,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist and founder of Dr. Carol Ford & Associates in central Phoenix. “Proper treatment of your gums can help your smile stay healthy and trouble-free.”

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