6 Causes of Bleeding Gums When Flossing

Do you brush your teeth twice a day with the right toothpaste? Are you cautious about sugary foods, and do you prefer to brush your teeth after eating? Are you confident you practice good oral hygiene yet experience bleeding gums after flossing?

If it is your first time flossing or whether you do it regularly, you are likely to experience bleeding gums. But, do not panic. Usually, it's nothing serious, although if the bleeding persists, it could result from an underlying problem. 

Read through the article and learn more about flossing. 

dental floss on the blue background

What Is Flossing and Is It Important?

Flossing is a simple technique of eliminating bacteria hiding between the teeth that a toothbrush might never reach. The process involves moving up and down a thin synthetic cord that you insert between your teeth. 

Flossing is a very vital oral hygiene practice. Dentists recommend flossing once a day. Undeniably, brushing is essential, but it misses the plaque hiding under the gum and the small gaps between the teeth. 

Flossing takes a few minutes and should be done before bed. While asleep, there is less saliva in the mouth and more plaque concentration. Therefore it’s the perfect environment for bacteria to bleed. 

a woman using dental floss

What Are the Causes of Bleeding Gum When Flossing?

Here are the 6 most common causes of bleeding gum that you should be aware of.

  • Gingivitis
  • Our mouths have bacteria, some safe and natural, while others aid in plaque creation. Plaque is a film that sticks and builds up at the gum line leading to bleeding gum. 

    Once plaque accumulates and is not removed, it results in gingivitis or inflammation of the gum. Due to Gingivitis gums become swollen and tender resulting in bleeding when flossing or brushing. 

    Over time, accumulated plaque hardens, becoming tartar. Tartar is hard to remove and gather bacteria along the gum line, causing tooth decay.  

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    Gingivitis results in severe gum disease if not treated on time. But, good oral hygiene can cure the problem. First, choosing the right toothpaste is vital in curing gingivitis. 

    Tooth decay occurs when tooth remineralization outweighs tooth demineralization. To promote tooth build-up and reduce tooth breakdown, usehydroxyapatite toothpaste

    Hydroxyapatite, a naturally occurring mineral, forms a massive part of the tooth surface. So, when present in toothpaste, it is recognized as part of the body. The best part is that hydroxyapatite penetrates deep into the decaying part of the tooth and initiates a rebuilding process. 

    tooth care illustration


  • Brushing Too Hard
  • Three in every four people believe clean teeth mean brushing too hard. vigorous brushing hurts the gum exposing it to bacteria and infections. 

    Brushing should be done gently and with the right toothbrush. The best toothbrush should have soft bristles and must be approved by the dentist association. 

    Furthermore, you can use a manual orelectric toothbrush. But, an electric toothbrush is highly recommended since it stops you from brushing vigorously. The toothbrush has a rotating head that cleans as it rotates. The cleaning process is done gently without much force. 

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    Also, the rotating head gets into the hidden areas of your teeth, cleans, and removes plaque and bacteria. 

    An electric toothbrush will help you heed your dentist's advice of brushing for two minutes(something most of us ignore).

    The toothbrush has a timer and stops when your two minutes of brushing are over. So, no more excuses; an electric toothbrush is a fantastic path towards your oral health. 

    a woman brushing her teeth

  •  Flossing Routine
  • If it's your first time flossing, chances are you will have bleeding gums. Do not stop flossing. Instead, practice more often, and the problem will go away within a few days.

    Similarly, if you stop flossing for a while, your gum will likely bleed once you resume. Do not panic; instead, make flossing part of your daily routine. 

    Improper flossing can also cause bleeding gums. This article will outline the proper procedure for flawless flossing towards the end.

    a woman holding flossing tools

  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Without a doubt, gum bleeding is a result of poor oral hygiene. Allowing plaque to build up is the leading cause of oral problems. So, the solution is to adopt better oral habits. 

    First, clean your teeth after every meal. After eating, food deposits are left on our teeth. These deposits accumulate and become plaque. Remember, plaque leads to gum disease and tooth decay. 


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    Note, brushing immediately after a meal can flush away the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel weakens while eating; giving it at least 30 minutes to harden is recommendable. 

    For maximum oral health, it is also vital to use a mouthwash after meals. Mouthwash loosens plaque and food particles, making it easier to brush. Regular use of mouthwash also kills undesirable odor bacteria, leaving you with a fresh breath.

    Not all mouthwash products deliver exceptional results. Considerhydroxyapatite mouthwash. The hydroxyapatite property promotes continuous tooth build-up and prevents cavities. 

    mouthwash, dental floss, toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Smoking
  • Smoking does not only harm your lungs, but it can also cause serious oral problems. Smokers are more likely to develop gum diseases, teeth staining, and tooth loss. In some severe cases, smoking leads tomouth cancer.

    The bacterial plaque is more prevalent in smokers than in their counterparts. Thus, smokers are at more risk of developing gingivitis, gum disease, and cavities. 

    The smoke also stains the teeth affecting their natural color. Teeth staining may affect one's confidence and social life. Luckily,teeth whitening pens help fight stains and brighten smiles.  

    a person quitting smoking

  • Unhealthy Eating Habits
  • Eating unhealthy foods such as refined carbohydrates and processed foods can lead to gum disease and cavities. So, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and anti-inflammatory foods. Fruits and vegetables give the bodyVitamin K, which is critical in teeth remineralization and cavity protection. 

    Similarly,Vitamin C keeps gum connective tissues strong and healthy, preventing gum bleeding and diseases. 

    Also, regular intake of sugary foods can cause gum bleeding when flossing. Sugar deposits are a perfect environment for bacterial plaque. For good oral health, reduce the intake of sugary foods and brush as soon as you eat. 

    a woman eating doughnut

    What Is the Proper Flossing Procedure?

    Achieving the ultimate flossing goal requires using the proper technique. If your dentist has not mentioned the correct flossing technique, here is what you should do. 

    • Wind more than half of the floss around one of your middle fingers. The string should be about 18 inches. On the same finger on your other hand, wind the remaining floss. The idea is for the finger with less floss to collect the dirty floss. 
    • Firmly, hold the floss between your forefingers and thumbs.
    • Using a gentle rubbing motion, move the floss in between your teeth.
    • Curve the floss into a C shape against one tooth. Curving should be done once the floss reaches the gum line. In a gentle motion, slide the floss between the tooth and the gum.
    • Tightly, hold the floss against the tooth. Start rubbing the sides of the tooth gently. In up and down motions, move the floss away from the gum. Repeat the process on each tooth. 
    • Ensure you use a clean section of the floss for each tooth. 

    a man using dental floss


    The Final Verdict

    Flossing is one of the most vital oral habits you should never miss. If you experience bleeding gums, do not stop. Instead, check if you are using the right oral tools and adopting the proper flossing technique.

    You should also evaluate your lifestyle and drop unhealthy habits. An unhealthy lifestyle can affect your overall health and lead to severe conditions. Some of the health conditions can be fatal.

    If the bleeding continues, you could be having gum disease or gingivitis. Visit your dentist immediately for proper treatment. For good oral health, visit your dentist at least twice a year. 


    1. Is it normal for gums to bleed when flossing?

    While flossing between teeth, it is normal for the gums to bleed, but as long as the bleeding subsides quickly, it is not considered an issue. It may seem counterproductive to floss every day, but it is necessary.

    2. When should I be concerned about bleeding gums?

    Most people will experience gum bleeding at some point in their lives. While a small amount of blood may not seem concerning, when your gums bleed on a regular basis, you should contact your dentist right away.

    3. How long does it take for gums to stop bleeding when flossing?

    What is the average time it takes for gums to stop bleeding? Your gums may bleed initially as they get used to the new routine of flossing. Even if you don't have gum disease, regular flossing should put an end to the bleeding within 3-10 days.

    4. What can cause gums to bleed even after flossing every day?

    If your gums bleed after flossing, you may have inadequate oral hygiene. If you neglect your dental hygiene, your gums will become red and inflamed. Because of this, your teeth are more likely to bleed when you clean or floss them.

    5. Should I floss before or after brushing?

    It helps reduce the risk of gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque under and around the gum line. Flossing before brushing is the most effective way to remove food particles from between your teeth. Hold a few inches of floss or dental tape taut between your hands and 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) of floss or dental tape.