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What Does It Mean When You Find Blood on Your Dental Floss?

August 11, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — waynedentistry @ 5:06 pm

Dental FlossYou haven’t flossed for a long time, but at your dentist’s suggestion you’ve decided it’s time to start again. However, when you’re done, you’re alarmed to find that there’s blood on the floss! What does this mean, and what should you do about it? Learn more about why your gums might bleed while flossing – and why, despite what you might think, it’s not a sign that you should stop!

What Causes the Gums to Bleed While Flossing?

If you’re new to flossing, then a little bleeding is normal. As time goes on, your gums should get used to the process, and the problem should go away on its own after a few weeks. If you’re already a veteran flosser, however, then bleeding is likely a sign of a much more serious oral health issue.

One of the most common causes of bleeding gums is gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. It occurs when the bacteria in plaque irritate and infect the gum tissue, making it tender and swollen. Infected gums bleed very easily. If you don’t have gingivitis treated quickly enough, it could become periodontitis, an even more severe condition that attacks the jawbone and may even cause you to lose your teeth.

Other possible causes of bleeding gums include:

  • The use of certain medications
  • Pregnancy gingivitis (a condition in pregnant women where the gums are even more sensitive to the bacteria in plaque)
  • Uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes

What Can You Do if Your Gums Bleed While Flossing?

If bleeding continues for several weeks after you begin flossing, or if you start consistently bleeding after flossing without issue for years, call your dentist as soon as possible. They’ll help you find the underlying cause of the bleeding and can treat you appropriately.

If the bleeding is a result of gingivitis, you’ll likely need to undergo periodontal therapy. The first step will be a procedure known as scaling and root planing. Scaling removes plaque and tartar that has built up along the gum lines, and root planing smooths out the roots of the teeth, making plaque less likely to gather on them in the future. After that, if the infection is still present, a topical antibiotic can be applied to the gums to continue to fight it. After that, you may need to start visiting the dentist more often than usual to make sure that your gums stay clean and healthy.

There are other ways your dentist can help with bleeding gums as well, such as suggesting changes you can make to your flossing routine. In any case, it’s important to figure out why your gums are bleeding as quickly as possible so that you can take appropriate action. Just know that the answer will rarely be to stop flossing; if anything, bleeding usually means you’ve gone without flossing for too long and need to change that!

About the Practice

At Wayne Family Dentistry, our team of dedicated dental professionals are fully committed to always providing comfortable, high-quality, trustworthy dentistry. We screen your gums every time you come in for an appointment and make it a point to identify and treat gum disease as quickly as possible. To schedule an appointment at our practice in Wayne, visit our website or call (610) 688-4578.

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