When we think about oral health, the last thing on our minds should be bleeding. But maybe you recently got back from the dentist and they told you that you weren’t flossing enough to remove plaque? If you’ve decided to commit to add flossing to your oral care regimen after skipping the habit for a long time, you likely noticed some bleeding in your gums.
Keep in mind that your bleeding gums in Estero are not necessarily a cause for alarm. Learn about the common reasons why your gums bleed when flossing and what you can do to prevent it in the future.
Common Causes of Bleeding Gums While Flossing
If this is the first time you’ve noticed bleeding gums after flossing and it’s been a long time since you’ve flossed, then this is a relatively normal occurrence. As plaque builds up on your gums, it irritates and inflames them. When you remove that plaque with floss and your gums start bleeding, it’s because the gums were inflamed. This is why it’s so important to practice daily oral care and visit the dentist regularly. The early signs of gum disease rarely appear until you actively start practicing effective oral hygiene.
While ineffective oral hygiene is among the most common causes of bleeding gums, it’s not the only cause. Gums can bleed for a variety of reasons, including:
- Brushing or flossing too hard or for too long
- Using a hard-bristled toothbrush
- Vitamin deficiency
- Significant plaque and tartar buildup
- Blood-thinning medications
- Changes in your hormone levels (ex. If you recently became pregnant)
How You Can Treat Your Bleeding Gums
The good news is a few simple improvements to your oral hygiene can prevent future instances of bleeding gums. To practice proper care, you should be brushing for at least two minutes at a time with fluoridated toothpaste and flossing once a day. Ideally, a good time to floss is right before bed since your mouth is at higher risk of plaque development, but any time that works for you is fine as well. The best time to floss is before you brush or use an oral mouth rinse as this will open up the pockets of your gum tissue, making it easier for fluoride to reach the areas in between teeth.
When You Should Visit a Dentist for Help
While improving your oral care should solve the problem, your gums shouldn’t be bleeding for any longer than a week. If this goes on for any longer and/or you’ve recently started taking a new medication (such as blood thinners), then you’ll want to speak with your physician. Keep in mind that you should be visiting a dentist in Estero once every six months for checkups and cleanings anyway, so your next appointment is the perfect time to address this issue.
Don’t let bleeding gums become the norm. Take the necessary steps to improve your oral care with help from a dentist!
About the Author
Dr. Rich Gilbert earned his dental degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. He works with patients to help them improve their oral care habits and address underlying infections should their symptoms not improve with better oral hygiene. If you’re experiencing bleeding gums and don’t know where to turn, you can contact this office through his website to schedule an appointment.