Bleeding while Flossing?

Do your or your child’s gums bleed when you floss? Though bleeding while flossing is usually not a medical emergency, it is not considered normal. Read more to find out why and what you can do to prevent bleeding while flossing.

Is flossing important?

Yes! According to the American Dental Association (ADA), flossing at least once a day helps to prevent gum disease and cavities. When you floss, you are removing leftover food or sugar from in between your teeth. 

Plaque, a sticky substance found on teeth, contains bacteria that feed on these remnants of sugar or food still stuck between teeth. Plaque buildup can lead to the formation of tartar, which in turn, leads to gum disease if not treated properly. Only your dentist can remove tartar, but you can remove plaque yourself through a proper home dental cleaning routine. 

The ADA recommends flossing at least once a day. Do this whenever it is convenient for you. It doesn’t matter if you floss in the morning, evening, or somewhere in between, as long as you are flossing.

Why do my gums bleed when I floss?

The main reason why your gums are bleeding is likely because of the buildup of plaque or tartar due to a lack of proper flossing or brushing techniques. A buildup of plaque can cause sore and inflamed gums, also known as gingivitis. Flossing for patients with gingivitis often causes bleeding at the gum line. 

Also, incorrect flossing techniques can cause bleeding gums. You should be relatively gentle when you floss, curving the floss around each tooth. A helpful reminder of proper flossing techniques can be found on the ADA website here.

What should I do if my gums bleed when I floss?

Keep flossing! Though it might seem counterintuitive, keep flossing even if your gums tend to bleed. Give special attention to where your gums bleed the most, which are areas most in need of flossing. Try to floss at least once a day for ten consecutive days. The bleeding should subside as your gums become healthier. If however, your gums continue to bleed after about ten days, you should call your dentist to schedule an appointment. 

More helpful tips:

  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth. Medium to hard bristles or aggressive brushing techniques can also cause gums to bleed. 
  • Brush and floss your teeth gently. 
  • You should begin flossing your children’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth next to each other. Monitor your childrens’ brushing and flossing routines until they are old enough to maintain proper home dental habits without adult supervision.
  • Always ask your dentist if you have any questions about your dental health.

Visit us today

If you have been flossing for ten consecutive days and your gums continue to bleed, or if your family has a history of gum disease, please schedule an appointment at one of our offices. Our staff look forward to serving you in a clean and safe environment. Book your appointment with us today at santeekids.com or call us at (619).

Please take note of our COVID-19 precautions to keep both you and our staff safe and healthy.

Read more about our Text2chair protocol here.