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Why do my Gums Bleed when I Brush or Floss?


Getting in the habit of brushing and flossing regularly can be difficult for some of us. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss this may even discourage you from sticking to your daily home care routine.

The cause for bleeding gums can have a numerous reasons, but more often than not, if your gums bleed easily when you brush or floss this may be a sign of poor oral hygiene care. However, there can be other reasons why this could be happening.

3 Common causes of bleeding gums:

- Poor oral care is arguably the most common cause of bleeding gums. This is because when you fail to brush and floss properly, the plaque that remains on the teeth and around the gums may cause gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). This increase in swelling and blood supply is your body's attempt to fight off bacteria that sits around the gums. When you brush or floss you may irritate the gums which cause it to bleed very easily.

It is important to understand that if you keep your gums clean and free of plaque, there is no need for the body to trigger an inflammatory response and your gums won't bleed so easily. Healthy gums don't bleed!



-Bad flossing technique can irritate the gums and cause them to bleed. If you grew up going to the Dentist, you probably remember your Dental Hygienist teaching you how to floss properly by "hugging" (C-shape technique) the tooth with your floss and clean close to the gum line. This is the most effective way to remove plaque around the gums, but if not done correctly this can damage the gums.

If you're not completely "hugging" (creating a C shape) the tooth when you floss, the floss will hit (and sometimes cut) the gums as you're trying to clean slightly under and around the gumline. This is often a common reason why the gums hurt and bleed even when patient have good home care. If you're unsure if your flossing technique is correct, have your Dentist or Dental Hygienist demonstrate how to floss properly during your next dental cleaning.


-Brushing aggressively and/or with a hard toothbrush can also irritate the gums and cause them to bleed. It's common to think "the faster I brush, the faster I'll clean my teeth" or "the harder the bristles, the more plaque they'll remove". Although this could be true, the downside to this is that you'll also irritate your gums and cause them to bleed. In addition to this, brushing hard and aggressively can also lead to gum recession.


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