Bleeding Gums and Flossing

Many times, after someone starts back up with their oral hygiene of flossing more frequently, they find themselves faced with a confusing dilemma. Their gums are starting to bleed. Questions arise from this thought. Should I stop flossing? Why is this happening? Am I going to die?

Okay, so maybe the last question people don’t ask… But those, and others, people ask, to make sure nothing is wrong. And usually nothing is wrong. What is happening, as we will find out, is that bleeding gums is a normal part of flossing if you have just picked it up again.

Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums can be a sign for many different things. If, for example, you have been put on a blood thinner, that may be one cause for your gums to bleed. Or like said previously, it can be caused because you’ve taking up flossing again.

Most of the time bleeding gums aren’t something to worry about. But there can be a chance that the reason your gums are bleeding is because of gum disease, also known as gingivitis.

Gingivitis comes about mainly by plaque buildup. The bacteria in the plaque will often get into your gums and cause tenderness and swelling. With your gums in a weaker state, they will start to bleed when you floss your teeth, because of the pressure you are putting on them by the floss.

There are other ‘strange’ reasons your gums may start bleeding:

  • pregnancy and hormones. If you are pregnant, your body will go through a bunch of different hormones and such (things us men may never understand), and one thing that may happen is the gums will start to bleed. But if they do, it won’t last long.
  • Stressing out about stuff. If you are constantly stressing out about your life and other things, one way it may come out is through your gums bleeding. Just learn to relax, worry less, and the bleeding should take care of itself.
  • Biting unevenly. If you have an uneven bite, this also, obviously, can cause your gums to bleed as well. You may want to have a dentist take a look at your teeth if you believe that is the problem.


Typically when you floss though, if you have bleeding, it’s just a sign that you body is doing it normally does.

If you haven’t flossed or brushed your teeth for a while, your body will naturally try to take care of itself. When plaque and other buildup occurs, your immune system kicks in and tries to take care of it. Most often, it will send blood up and around the teeth and gums to help ward off any bad bacteria.

As more plaque builds up, the blood also can build up. Now this usually takes quite a while to happen. Several weeks to several months.

So after several months of this happening, plaque and blood building up, you think to yourself that you haven’t flossed in a while, and decide to do just that. As you floss, the plaque and blood come out, and that’s when you noticed that your ‘gums’ are bleeding.

Typically, the gums shouldn’t take that long to stop bleeding. As you keep on flossing, your body will naturally stop sending blood up there and thus stop the bleeding.

What comes next?

If your gums are bleeding, the next step is to fix it so you stop bleeding. Because bleeding can be a sign of gingivitis, it would be best to go see a dentist and have him give you teeth and gums a good check over. But sometimes, due to funds or other problems, you can’t go see a dentist.

That’s where stepping up in oral hygiene can help you during this time. If you gums are bleeding, it just means you need to take care of them a little (or a lot) more than what your normally doing. Below are several things you can try:

  • Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Because your gums may be irritated by something touching it, it’s best to use a toothbrush that will brush more softly than normal.
  • Brush for over two minutes a day, and twice a day. Brushing will help remove the plaque and other bacteria from your teeth and gums, in order for you mouth to properly heal itself from its infection.
  • Floss like you’ve never flossed before. Floss between the teeth, right next to the teeth, and even where the teeth meet the gum, as that is a place where plaque likes to build up.
  • Wash your mouth out with some sort of non-acidic mouthwash, either a commercial one, or a homemade one. Salt water, or even hydrogen peroxide will work. Just make sure to not have anything that has the primary ingredient as alcohol, as that can dry your mouth out, and lead to bad breath.
  • Give up your smoking habits for a time, or even indefinitely. Smoking may be the problem of why your gums are bleeding. And if they are bleeding and swollen, smoking will only add irritation to your gums, hurting them rather than helping them.

But what about normal bleeding?

Maybe you just having bleeding and no pain, swelling, or irritation. What should you do in that case? Just keep on flossing once a day, and brushing your teeth. Like I said earlier, the bleeding will stop in a few days as you keep brushing and flossing.

In conclusion…

Bleeding gums may or may not be something you want to have a doctor take a look at. If you gums aren’t swollen or irritated and you just started taking up flossing again, then most likely it’s something that will leave just as quickly as it came.

Feel free to share you thoughts on bleeding gums and flossing in the comments below. Have you had this issue before, and what did you do to fix it? Do you have other questions related to this topic and need an answer? Then write down below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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