Why Your Gums Bleed After Flossing and When to See a Periodontist in Rochester NY

by | Feb 18, 2022

It can be alarming when your gums bleed after flossing at home or during your dental hygiene cleaning. Though common, having your gums bleed after flossing can be an indication of a problem with your oral health. In many cases, bleeding gums indicate periodontal disease, a serious condition that can put you at risk for tooth decay, bone loss, and tooth loss.1

Don’t shy away from flossing! Learn the common reasons your gums bleed after flossing and see how a periodontist in Rochester, NY, can help.

If Your Gums Bleed, You May Have Periodontal Disease

Gums are soft tissue that covers your tooth roots and jawbone. When gums are healthy, they’re pink and fit along the teeth snugly, creating a seal that protects your teeth from bacteria. Healthy gums don’t bleed when they’re brushed or flossed correctly.

If your gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth, it could be for several reasons. The most common one is periodontal disease.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, periodontal diseases include diseases caused by infection and inflammation of the gum and bone surrounding the teeth.2

The first stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which involves swollen, red, and bleeding gum. Bacteria invade the mouth and surrounding gum, causing inflammation. When the bacteria is left on the teeth and gum long enough, it forms a film called plaque. This hardens over time, leading to tartar buildup, spreading below the gum line, and becoming more challenging to clean.

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which may cause the gum and the bone to pull away from the teeth. The teeth will become more prone to infection and may loosen or fall out.

A recent CDC report shows that over 47 percent of adults over 30 years old have some form of periodontal disease. The disease progresses with age, and over 70 percent of adults 65 or older have periodontal disease.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Depending on the stage, periodontal disease has the following signs or symptoms:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Sore or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Pain while chewing
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that have receded or pulled away from the tooth
  • Change in the way teeth are aligned
  • Change in the fit of partial dentures

Periodontal disease has many risk factors: genetics, poor oral hygiene, smoking, constant stress, immunodeficiency conditions, and other systemic diseases, crooked teeth, poorly fitting bridges or dentures, hormonal changes, and defective fillings.

How to Prevent Periodontal Disease With a Periodontist in Rochester NY

Gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease, can be corrected with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental cleanings. Once it progresses to periodontal disease, it requires treatment from a Rochester NY periodontist. This may include a deep cleaning of the teeth below the gums, oral antibiotics, or surgery.

Once periodontal disease occurs, it’s very difficult to undo the damage. Your local Rochester NY periodontist can stop the progression of the disease and mitigate its effects.

You can prevent or control the progression of periodontal disease by:

  • Visiting a dentist at least twice a year for checkups
  • Flossing and brushing teeth properly twice a day to remove bacteria

Brushing your teeth removes the bacteria that can turn to plaque from the surface of your teeth. Regular brushing is one of the most important aspects of dental hygiene, but there are places in your mouth your toothbrush can’t reach.

Flossing is used to get the hard-to-reach areas between teeth and below gums to remove plaque buildup before it can harden. When you floss, it’s essential to be gentle and slide the floss back and forth between your teeth and below the gum. Avoid snapping the floss or sliding it roughly between your teeth.

Some light bleeding may occur, especially if you’re beginning a new flossing routine. Bleeding should subside after a few days of regular, gentle flossing. If the bleeding doesn’t improve, it may indicate the start of periodontal disease, that you’re not flossing correctly, or that you have an underlying health condition. Be sure to schedule a checkup to protect your oral health.

Your Periodontist in Rochester NY

If your gums bleed when flossing or are sore, swollen, and red for long periods, visit Dental Implants & Periodontal Health of Rochester. We’ll determine if you have a poor flossing technique or need periodontal disease treatment. Call us at 585-685-2005 to schedule your consultation!


[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/periodontitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354473
[2] https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/conditions/periodontal-disease.html


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