You've brushed your teeth regularly since you were young. You know that regular brushing keeps plaque and cavities at bay, and you recognise that brushing keeps bad breath under control.
Furthermore, you enjoy swishing your mouth with antibacterial rinse. You know that mouthwash plays an important role in the fight against gum disease, and you've used the rinse to soothe irritated canker sores.
But you absolutely dread one step in your daily and nightly dental routine: flossing. Every time you floss, your gums feel sore and irritated. And when your gums bleed, you wonder if you cause more harm than good.
Are you doing something wrong?
Tips to Floss Properly
When you brush or floss too aggressively, you irritate the gum line and cause minor trauma to the tissue.
Whenever you floss, you should approach each tooth with gentleness and care. Don't force the string between your teeth; rather, smoothly move it up and down so it follows the curve of one tooth. The floss will stop naturally near the gum line, and when it does, make a slow c-shape until the floss reaches the opposite tooth's side. Then you can follow the tooth's curve outward again.
Other Reasons Why Your Gums Bleed
Even if you floss regularly, you gums may still bleed after each session. In this case, you likely have additional factors that lead to irritated or sore gums. Some of the factors include the following.
Two weeks of regular flossing might not be enough to counter a lifetime of poor oral hygiene. As plaque builds up on your teeth, the bacteria can irritate the gums, resulting in swelling, inflammation and bleeding.
Although this irritation is not noticeably painful, it can worsen into periodontal disease which leads to receding gums, bone loss, and even tooth loss.
If you are pregnant, flutiating hormones can cause gingivitis, schedule treatments during the first and second trimesters to prevent pregnancy gingivitis.
Some medications increase your risk for bleeding gums, whether you floss regularly or not. Blood pressure and immuno-suppressants cause side effects such as inflammation and bleeding, while similar prescriptions can result in dry mouth, which results in gum irritation.
Your doctor may need to adjust your dosage or switch medications entirely to help you avoid these side effects.
Talk to Your Dentist
If your gums continue to bleed after you floss, talk to your dentist about the problem and schedule an appointment. He or she may recommend multiple treatments, as well as a few changes in your lifestyle to promote better oral health.