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Bleeding while flossing

Is It Normal to Bleed When I Floss?

Bleeding while flossing/Brushing is common but should not be ignored because it can be a sign of a severe underlying issue. Improper flossing/brushing methods (brushing too vigorously) can also cause bleeding gums in which seeking advice on proper techniques from your dentist should do the trick.

Bleeding while flossing
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There are two main categories, however, when it comes to bleeding gums. 

They are dental factors and other underlying causes

Dental Causes

Dental care issues are the primary cause of bleeding gums. Dental appliances like dentures can cause bleeding gums. But, it can be a sign that you have or may otherwise be developing gum disease such as Gingivitis and periodontitis.


This is a periodontal disease characterized by the accumulation of plaque around and in between teeth. Plaque is the colonizing bacteria that tries to stick to the smooth surface of the tooth.

The symptoms include:

Puffy gums

Soreness in and around the mouth

Bleeding gums


Photo Credit: Oral-B website

When Gingivitis becomes advanced, typically when plaque hardens into tartar around the base of the tooth, it becomes an infection of the gums, jawbone and the supportive tissues that connect the teeth and gum. This will require professional care as tartar can only be removed professionally.

Aside from bleeding gums, periodontitis can be identified by symptoms such as receding gums, bad breath and loss of teeth.

Dental appliances

Dentures can be a cause of bleeding gums to its user, especially when they fit too tightly. This, as well as other orthodontic appliances, can be a factor to consider in which you should seek professional advice from your dentist/Orthodontist for correctional measures. They may need to make new impressions to make a better fitting mouthpiece.

Other Underlying Causes

It could so happen that you have bleeding gums, but it has nothing to do with improper hygiene. Vitamin C and K deficiencies are a common cause of bleeding gums and establishing this with the help of your doctor could help aid bleeding gums. Also eating the following foods and following a diet that provide both nutrients could be useful in staying healthy.

Some vitamin C rich foods may include the following:

  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

Some vitamin K rich foods may include the following:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Cabbage 
  • Cauliflower
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil

Hormonal changes during Puberty,  Pregnancy, menopause and menstrual cycle may cause risk of inflammation which can otherwise cause bleeding gums. Frequent smoking is also linked with a high chance of developing Gingivitis. Diseases such as HIV, Diabetes, Blood disorders like leukaemia and haemophilia increase the likelihood of bleeding as well taking blood-thinning medications. Genetics is also a factor that plays a role in this; if someone in your family has Gingivitis, then chances are you will develop it too.

Treatment of Bleeding Gums

Improper oral hygiene is a significant factor to consider in the development of Gingivitis; therefore, good dental hygiene is a good starting point. 

It is crucial to schedule visits to the dentist at least twice a year for general check-up and professional cleaning.  While there, you will be able to get a proper diagnosis, and the dentist will show you how to brush and floss your teeth properly which will reduce risk of getting a periodontal disease by removing plaque from the gum line.

Care at Home

Brush twice daily using a soft or electric toothbrush and floss at least once a day. Depending on the recommended one, regularly rinse mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash.

Dental factors and oral hygiene have been the apparent causes of bleeding gums. If that isn’t the case; however, seeing your physician could help identify the underlying cause and appropriate treatment will be recommended.

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