Even though we might tell our family dentist that we floss daily, most of us don’t. Then, when we do, we tend to experience swollen and bleeding gums. You might think that this is normal and shrug it off, but your bleeding gums might be trying to tell you that there is an underlying problem.

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it could be a sign of anything from gingivitis to excessive plaque buildup. Or you might just be flossing too hard! Whatever it is, you shouldn’t ignore it if your gums bleed easily. Instead, use it as an opportunity to look deeper at your oral health! And once you’ve identified why your gums keep bleeding you can follow these 7 ways to stop bleeding gums.

  1. Apply an ice compress.

As soon as you notice your swollen gums after flossing, apply a cold compress. The cold helps to reduce swelling, restrict blood flow, help with clotting, and ultimately helps your gums stop bleeding. Hold the ice pack there for about 20 minutes at a time.

  1. Use a warm salt rinse.

The most common reason for bleeding gums when flossing is bacteria and plaque buildup, swishing warm salt water around your mouth can help stop the bleeding. Saltwater can help reduce bacteria, get rid of a sore throat, cause natural healing, fight bad breath, and help prevent bleeding gums.

To make the rinse, mix ½ a teaspoon of salt into warm water. Then swish it around your mouth for about ten seconds, gargle, and spit it out. It’s best to do this no more than 3 times a week. Otherwise, the sodium can erode your enamel.

  1. Get in a good oral hygiene routine.

Ultimately, bleeding gums is a sign of poor oral hygiene. If you have plaque buildup along your gums, it causes inflammation. This inflammation and buildup make it really easy for your gums to bleed when your flossing or brushing your teeth. The solution? Create better dental habits!

Anderson dentists Dr. Elbrecht and Dr. Summerlin suggest brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing once a day, swishing with mouthwash after eating, and using an ADA approved toothpaste.

  1. Eat less sugar.

Sugar and plaque are best friends. Where there’s sugar, there’s the potential for plaque buildup and the growth of bacteria. The easiest way to combat this is to consume less sugar. The American Heart Association suggest eating just 37.5g a day for men and 25g a day for a woman. To put this into perspective, one 20oz bottle of Gatorade contains 36g of sugar.

Instead, eat foods that are high in healthy fats, protein. To give you an idea, this can include lots of veggies, meats, fish, nuts, avocados, olive oil, and seeds.

  1. Reassess your dental tools.

Your gums might be bleeding when you floss for no other reason that your tools are just too rough. If you have regular oral hygiene habits and see your dentist twice a year and you still have bleeding gums, try looking at your dental tools and techniques. Your tooth brush’s bristles might be too hard, or you might not be gentle enough when guiding the floss through your teeth. If altering these don’t stop the bleeding, it might be time to see your dentist.

  1. Replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones.

We won’t beat around the bush here. Smokers, we’re looking at you! As you’ve probably heard over and over again, smoking isn’t just dangerous for your lungs. According to the CDC, it can also lead to gum disease. When you decide to quit smoking, your entire body benefits – especially your mouth.

Other unhealthy habits include your diet. Eating processed foods like cakes, cookies, potato chips, and refined bread, can also lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and bleeding gums. Instead, opt for crunchy fruits and veggies, leafy greens, and anti-inflammatory foods. These options help scrape plaque off of your teeth while also increasing your vitamin K and vitamin C intake. Vitamin K helps your blood clot. And vitamin C helps fight off infections in your mouth.

  1. Get regular dental examinations.

As suggested by the American Dental Association, you should see your dentist for a dental cleaning every six months. Farther than that, if you’ve tried each of our suggestions and your gums still bleed easily, you should go into your dentist for a dental examination. He will be able to look at your teeth and gums and let you know if there is something more serious going on. From there, he will be able to help you create a treatment plan.

What To Do If Your Gums Are Bleeding

For some, bleeding gums might just mean that you aren’t flossing enough. For others, it might be something more serious. If you’ve tried using a saltwater rinse, improving your oral hygiene routine, eating less sugar, mastering your flossing technique, and stopping smoking and you still are experiencing bleeding gums, head into our Anderson, IN dental office.

Advanced Dental Care of Anderson is located at 1612 E 53rd St, Anderson, IN 46013. Head into our office, give us a call at (765) 622-7000 or follow this link to schedule an appointment!

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/ethnic-woman-cleaning-teeth-with-dental-floss-5938291/ Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels