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Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Floss?

ModelGums that bleed while flossing can be due to a number of issues; however, if it is a common occurrence, it may likely be a sign of periodontal (gum) disease. To be sure, bleeding gums while flossing and performing daily oral hygiene routines could be caused by factors other than gum disease. These include a vitamin deficiency, a reaction to certain medications, ill-fitting dentures, or even the fact that you may have just started flossing and your gums simply aren’t acclimated to the process just yet. But gum disease is an extremely common indicator, even among individuals who take the best possible care of their oral health. 

Gum disease is caused by a collection of bacteria in the soft tissues of the mouth that develops into a sticky film called plaque. If the plaque is not removed by ordinary brushing and flossing, it can transition into a harder substance known as tartar or “calculus,” which can lead to gum recession, the separation of the gum tissue from the teeth, and other symptoms. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and often leads to symptoms such as gums that are swollen, inflamed, or that bleed while brushing or flossing. 

It can be frustrating to experience bleeding gums when you feel like you do everything possible to maintain a healthy mouth, but here’s something to keep in mind: good brushing and flossing routines can remove a fair amount of plaque, but plaque and tartar can reside in areas that may not be reachable on your own. That’s why routine visits to the dentist for exams and professional cleanings (which are typically recommended as a twice-yearly procedure for most individuals) are so important. Dental cleanings can get to plaque and bacteria in deeper, more hidden areas, making these treatments a powerful weapon in the battle against periodontal disease. 

In some cases, gum disease is present so deeply within the gums that more extensive treatment is necessary to remove the bacteria and restore gum health. The most important thing is to keep brushing and flossing daily, attend your routine dental appointments as recommended, and come in for a dental exam as soon as you notice there might be a problem. 

Remember, untreated gum disease can progress into more serious (and dangerous) stages of the condition, and even lead to general health risks linked to oral health conditions. Smile for Life Dental offers numerous periodontal treatments that can effectively address gum disease and help you prevent it from causing further harm!  Please contact us today for more information, or to schedule an appointment.