“My gums bleed when I floss, shall I stop?”

A sentence we hear quite often at the practice. Many patients will say that because of their bleeding gums, they decided to stop flossing, which is usually when our ears prick, and we start shaking our heads immediately! 

Bleeding gums is usually a sign of gum disease (gingivitis) or periodontitis. If you don’t floss often enough and use the correct technique, plaque (that sticky film of bacteria) can grow and accumulate on your teeth, in your mouth and under the gum line. This accumulation of bacteria leads to the inflammation of the gums, called “gingivitis”. However, don’t worry – this condition is completely reversible when caught early enough and heals after a professional hygienist clean and some changes in your oral care routine.

Why is it important to floss & tackle my bleeding gums?

When gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to periodontitis which can slowly destroy the bone and result in tooth loss. 

How often should I floss my teeth?

Flossing or interdental brushes get where a toothbrush can’t. If you only floss once in a while, your gums will bleed as they aren’t used to being stimulated. When you floss often and regularly, the gum tissue between your teeth becomes more resilient and stops bleeding when flossed. We recommend our patients to floss at least once a day. 

What should I do if my gums bleed when flossing?

Floss, floss, floss…or use interdental brushes! You might think that this is doing more harm than good as your gums bleed, but with time and regularly flossing, the bleeding will stop. Don’t be tempted to stop flossing the area that bleeds, as it should be the opposite! Ensure to focus on that area when brushing and cleaning in between your teeth. 

It’s also a good idea to book in with our hygienists for a thorough clean, to help remove any plaque and tartar in hard-to-reach areas and show you the most effective way of cleaning in between your teeth. 

I clean in between my teeth regularly but am still experiencing bleeding gums. 

If your gums are still inflamed and bleeding, book an appointment with us as there might be another underlying issue, for example hormone level changes or diabetes. 

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