Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Floss?

Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Floss?
Posted on May 30, 2019

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you might shrug it off or think this is normal. But bleeding gums could indicate an underlying problem.

Bleeding gums doesn't mean your mouth is not clean, but it can mean you need to floss more often. It's fairly common for gums to bleed when you first begin flossing between teeth, and as long as the bleeding stops quickly, it's not usually considered a problem. 

Several things can cause gums to bleed, including plaque buildup along the gum line and between teeth. Vitamin deficiencies can also contribute to bleeding gums. Other factors, like brushing too vigorously, injury, pregnancy, and inflammation can also contribute to bleeding gums. 

Gum inflammation can cause redness, swelling, and tenderness, and it can be a sign of periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis or periodontitis. These diseases can occur from inadequate plaque removal.

Once you know the cause, you can choose among these 10 possible ways to stop the bleeding.

Good oral hygiene

  • Gums become inflamed and bleed when there’s a buildup of plaque along the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria that covers your teeth and gums. And if you don’t brush or floss enough, the bacteria can spread and cause tooth decay or gum disease.

Rinse with hydrogen peroxide

  • You might keep hydrogen peroxide on hand to use as a disinfectant. Turns out it is also a mild antiseptic that can also remove plaque, promote gum health, and stop gum bleeding. If your gums are bleeding, rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide mixed with equal parts water after brushing and spit it out.  Do not swallow.  If ever in doubt, consult a dentist.

Stop smoking

  • In addition to heightening the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, smoking is linked to gum disease. Smoking can lower your body’s immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off bacteria. The City of Hamilton has a list of smoking treatment plans nearby.

Reduce stress level

  • One study suggests a link between periodontal disease and emotional stress. According to the researchers, emotional stress has a negative impact on the immune system. This may result in weakening of the body’s defences to the point where it can’t fight a gum infection. 

Increase your intake of vitamin C 

  • Eating foods rich in vitamin C can strengthen your immune system and help fight off the gum infections that cause bleeding gums.

Increase your intake of vitamin K

  • Taking a vitamin K supplement may also alleviate bleeding gums. Vitamin K is an important nutrient because it helps your blood clot. 

Apply a cold compress

  • Bleeding gums aren’t always caused by gum disease. Your gums may also bleed from trauma or an injury to the gum tissue. Try using a cold compress applied to the gum line to reduce swelling and restrict blood flow to stop bleeding. 

Eat fewer carbs

  • Reducing your carbohydrate intake may also improve gum health and prevent gum disease. Carbohydrates and sugary foods encourage plaque and the growth of bacteria. Cutting back on carbohydrate can reduce plaque formation.

Drink green tea

  • Drinking green tea on a daily basis may also reverse periodontal disease and stop bleeding gums. Green tea contains catechins, a natural antioxidant that can lower the body’s inflammatory response to bacteria in the mouth. 

Rinse your mouth with salt water

  • Regularly rinsing your mouth with a mixture of warm salt water may also reduce bacteria and stop gum bleeding. Add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth for a few seconds three to four times a day. 

When to see a dentist about Bleeding Gums

Contact us at Stoney Creek Dental, 905-662-1999 if your gum bleeding doesn’t improve within 7 to 10 days. You may need a deep dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar and promote gum healing.   

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