Why Gums Bleed When Flossing or Brushing - Smiles on Queen - Family Dentistry in Bolton
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Chronic pain, itchy gums, and foul breath are common signs of poor oral health. Another sign of poor oral health that many people often overlook is bleeding gums. You should take bleeding gums seriously because the situation can escalate if not addressed promptly.

Poor oral hygiene, low-quality dental hygiene products, and improper brushing are some of the causes of bleeding gums. In this article, we explore the reasons why your gum bleeds when flossing or brushing. Our dentist Bolton also shares practical solutions to address this problem and answer common questions related to bleeding gums and oral health.

Why Do My Gums Bleed When I Brush Teeth?

Did you know that bleeding gums is a major cause of gum disease? This statement sounds scary, but it’s true. So, why are my gums randomly bleeding when I brush my teeth?

Poor Oral Health

We all know that plaque (solid dirt) accumulates along the gumline each time you eat or drink. Brushing your teeth properly is the best way to avoid the accumulation and subsequent solidifying of the plaque.

Alternatively, a dental hygienist can clean the plaque. Accumulation of plaque irritates the gums, and they start to bleed. At this point, this situation becomes a minor oral health emergency.

You should seek immediate medical help when your gums start bleeding to avoid more severe forms of gum disease. Gum bleeding can result from inflamed gums, mainly caused by gingivitis. This condition is blamed on poor oral hygiene in most cases.

Brushing Technique

Is it normal for gums to bleed when brushing teeth? No, it’s not normal. Blood on your gums may result from brushing vigorously. You should brush your teeth gently to avoid corroding or irritating the gum. Contrary to popular opinion, brushing your teeth harder doesn’t make them cleaner. A dental hygienist can teach you how to brush without injuring your teeth.

Low-Quality Dental Flossers

Some people use dental flossers in addition to brushing. Dental floss removes food particles trapped between your teeth before it hardens into plaque. Low-quality dental flossers are made of inferior materials that can injure your gum when brushing. Consider the quality of dental floss before purchasing one.

How long does it take for gums to stop bleeding when flossing?  Your gums will likely bleed when you start flossing. However, the bleeding should stop in 3 to 10 days if you don’t have an underlying oral health condition.

Ill-fitting Dentures

Dentures or “false teeth” are prosthetic dental implants that replace missing teeth. The oral cavity tissues help support the dentures. Conventional dentures can be partially or completely removed, but there are numerous denture designs.

Wearing Ill-fitting dentures can cause gum bleeding. When you wear Ill-fitting dentures, food particles will likely lodge between your gums and the dentures. The stuck food particles break down slowly, giving bacteria sufficient time to injure your gum.


Yes, you heard that right. Stress is known to cause bleeding gums. High-stress levels cause numerous inflammations in the human body, which compromises the immune system. Body inflammation can make your gums swell, creating an ideal environment for gum bleeding.

Good oral hygiene practices help mitigate the effects of stress on your gums. For instance, using dental floss or mouthwash can play a significant role in enhancing your oral health.

Engaging in activities that help improve the quality of your life is a good stress management strategy. Common activities for stress management can include art and sports, among others.

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid deficiency causes scurvy, also called sailor’s disease. These two elements are typically sourced from fruits and vegetables. Sailors didn’t carry fruits and vegetables because they’re highly perishable. They only ate meat and bread while on the sea, meaning their diet lacked vitamin C. Shortly, their teeth began to fall. The sailors discovered that the lack of vitamin C was the cause of their falling teeth. That’s how scurvy got another name.

Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen and connective tissue components. Lack of this essential mineral causes scurvy, which reduces the rate of connective tissue dissolution.

Some categories of people are still prone to scurvy, although this disease is rare nowadays. The elderly, people with bad dietary habits, and young children have a high chance of catching scurvy. Common signs of scurvy include bleeding gums, weak teeth, and bleeding under the skin.

Vitamin K Deficiency

A lack of Vitamin K can cause bleeding gums when brushing or flossing. Vitamin K aids in the production of osteocalcin and blood clotting. Osteocalcin is a bone-strength supporting protein.

Lack of this mineral in your diet causes clotting and bleeding issues. Vitamin K-rich foods like soybeans, olive oil, and kale, among others, can help correct this deficiency.

Hormonal Imbalance During Pregnancy

Expectant mothers experience hormonal changes, making them prone to plaque accumulation. Plaque build-up causes bleeding gums, as aforementioned. Bleeding gums during pregnancy are also known as pregnancy gingivitis, which is considered a gum disease.

The solution to this problem is oral hygiene. In other words, you should use dental floss to remove food particles trapped between the teeth, brush your teeth regularly, and rinse the mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. Expectant mothers often experience nausea.

Rinsing the mouth with water when you feel nauseated protects your teeth from the acid in your vomit. Also, don’t brush the teeth immediately after vomiting because they’re soft at that time, thanks to the acid in your vomit.


Gingivitis is a form of the periodontal disease characterized by red and puffy gums that look unhealthy. Swollen gums bleed when you brush your teeth or use dental floss.

Gingivitis can be treated by taking steps to improve your oral health, including brushing and flossing frequently. An antiseptic mouthwash like Chlorhexidine mouthwash can control bacteria.

What do Healthy Gums Look Like?

Human gums line the oral cavity, and their primary function is to support the teeth. Healthy gums protect deeper tissues from injury. So, what are the qualities of healthy gums?

The color of healthy gums can vary by skin pigmentation. Yeah, it sounds weird, but allow us to explain. Light-skinned people naturally have pink gums, while dark-skinned people have darker gums.

Other colour shades like red, white, and blue may be a sign of gingivitis or another periodontal disease. Some people have uncommon coloured gums, which may result from many factors like using blood thinners or other health conditions.

How to Stop Gums from Bleeding When Flossing

Should you keep flossing if gums bleed? Bleeding is a sign of unclean teeth, and the only way to clean your teeth is by brushing or flossing. So, you should change your flossing style to avoid bleeding.

Why do gums bleed after not flossing for a while? The gum becomes sensitive when you stop flossing for a while and then resume. It can take a few days to adjust to the situation, as explained above (3 to 10 days).

Once you know why your gums bleed when brushing or flossing, it’s time for a solution. Here’s what you should do:

  • Press an ice cube on the bleeding gums to limit or reduce blood flow and catalyze clotting.
  • Eat Vitamin C and K-rich foods.
  • Avoid stress.
  • Improve your oral hygiene by using dental floss and mouthwash.
  • Use hydrogen peroxide to rinse your mouth.
  • Take carbohydrates in small quantities.
  • Review your dental health toolkit, like your toothbrush and dentures.
  • Visit a dental hygienist frequently.

Bleeding gums signify underlying oral health issues. That said, strive to know the root cause of bleeding gums and address the situation as soon as you can. Bleeding gums can cause gum disease and more serious conditions if left untreated. The issues discussed in this article can help you make informed choices about your oral hygiene.