What to Do When Gums Bleed After Brushing or Flossing
Bleeding after brushing or flossing, or simply at random times, may be a sign of unhealthy oral tissues. Many people think bleeding gums is normal, particularly after flossing their teeth, but it is usually a signal to change your oral hygiene routine and visit the dentist. Regardless of the cause, your bleeding gums are a warning sign.
What Causes Bleeding Gums?
One of the most common causes of bleeding gums is gum disease, also called gingivitis or periodontitis (periodontal disease). Gum disease can cause the gums to bleed while eating, randomly during the day, or after brushing or flossing the teeth. Other causes are more related to lifestyle choices, such as following an unhealthy diet, which reduces the amount of nutrition that oral health needs. Smoking cigarettes is another cause of bleeding gums, as it can impact the body’s immune system and increase the risk of gum disease and inflammation in the gums.
Bleeding Gums After Flossing
One of the most common times the gums bleeds is during and after flossing. Bleeding during and after flossing is abnormal. At times, it causes people to no longer floss their teeth because they know the gums will bleed.
Flossing should not cause healthy gums to bleed, as floss is quite gentle and gums can withstand it on a daily basis. In most cases, even if the gums are bleeding, flossing should be continued as it helps remove plaque and bacteria from the gums. Typically, the more you floss, the less your gums will bleed.
Bleeding Gums from Gum Disease
According to the California Dental Association, bleeding gums is an early warning sign of gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, but it can lead to periodontal disease, a more serious gum disease, without proper care.
Symptoms of gum disease — aside from bleeding gums — include tender or inflamed gums, pus between the gums and teeth, bad breath, loose or shifting teeth, receding gums, sensitivity to cold and hot foods and beverages, and changes in how teeth fit together while biting.
Myths to Avoid
There are some common myths about bleeding gums, according to the American Academy of Periontology (AAP). The academy advises patients to ignore these myths, especially the myth that flossing every day is not necessary.
Flossing removes particles and bacteria that a toothbrush doesn’t reach, and people who don’t floss often end up with gum disease. The AAP encourages individuals to ignore the myth that bleeding gums is normal and not serious. Instead, it is a sign of gum disease and needs to be discussed with a Sacramento dentist right away.
How to Prevent Your Gums from Bleeding
The National Institutes of Health believes the best way to prevent bleeding gums is to pay attention to good oral hygiene. This includes brushing the teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and visiting the dentist at least every six months.
It is also important to use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Brushing the teeth after every meal may be necessary for people with gum disease, in order to keep the gums as clean as possible and prevent bleeding gums. Eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding sugary foods and beverages also contributes to good oral health.
If you have bleeding gums during or after flossing, or at other times, you can make an appointment to check your teeth and gum health and determine the right approach to prevention.