“ Oh….. I DON’T floss, because it makes my gums bleed and hurt.” This is an excuse that I hear quite frequently. The truth is that the bacteria in the plaque between your teeth are most likely what is making your gums bleed. Let me explain…….
Bleeding, a sign of gingivitis, is a result of inflammation. Most gum inflammation occurs when plaque is allowed to stick around too long and the bacteria stimulate inflammatory cells to arrive at that area. This then results in bleeding at the area.
So how do we remove plaque?
Plaque is removed with brushing and flossing. Brushing alone cannot remove plaque from between the teeth. This can only be achieved with flossing. It is true that when a person starts flossing for the first time, their gums will probably bleed. Not because the floss injures their gums but because the lack of previous flossing has caused gingivitis to develop. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Until the gums heal and the inflammation decreases they will bleed and be sore with flossing, brushing, and sometimes even eating. If a person can work through the temporary discomfort of tenderness, the gums will heal and no longer bleed.
What if you are already a daily flosser and your gums still bleed? It could be that you are not using the correct technique or type of floss for your teeth. It could also be caused from your medication. Certain medications and herbal supplements cause the gums to bleed due to inflammation as a side effect of the drug. It could be that you have hidden periodontal disease that only your dentist can diagnose.
What products are on the market that can best help stop or prevent bleeding gums?
- Sonicare electric tooth brush (2 x day)
- Waxed floss, the good old string floss, not floss handles or floss pics (nightly)
- Smart Mouth Rinse (2 x day)
These products work to remove plaque and lower the bacteria count in the area, which will decrease the inflammation.
Questions on bleeding gums or anything else just give our office a call to schedule your examination.
Until next time….Keep on Smiling!