Flossing is one of the best things that you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy. However, many people give up on flossing because their gums bleed. If you know the cause, then you will have a better idea of what you can do to stop the bleeding. There are several things that can cause your gums to bleed when you floss.


Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. It is caused by bacterial growth. Bacteria naturally accumulates on the gums, teeth, and tongue. If the bacteria is not removed by brushing and flossing, then it can mix with plaque and cause inflammation in the gums.

Medication Side Effect

It is important to review the side effects of your medication. Certain medications can increase the risk of gum bleeding. However, you do not want to want to stop taking a medication without consulting with your doctor first.

Improper Flossing

Contrary to popular belief, bleeding gums are not a natural side effect of flossing. However, if you do not floss the correct way, then your gums can bleed. You have to make sure that you get the plaque and food particles on the sides of your tooth and underneath your gumline when you are flossing.

Mouth Breathing

Mouth breathing is bad for your oral hygiene. If you are a mouth breather, then you are at a greater risk for developing gum disease. That is why your gums may bleed when you are flossing.

Saliva naturally washes away the bacteria in your mouth. However, if you are a mouth breather, then you are more likely to develop dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to gingivitis.


The hormonal changes that individuals go through while they are pregnant or menstruating can put them at risk for developing gum bleeding. Hormonal changes can also make the gums more sensitive.

Canker Sores

A canker sore is a small lesion that develops on top of your gums. If you have a canker sore, then your gums may bleed when you floss. Canker sores typically go away within one or two weeks. However, if you have a large canker sore or one that does not heal, then it is time to go to the dentist.

How to Help Your Gums Heal

You can help your gums heal by practicing good hygiene. Make sure that you use a soft-bristled brush and high-quality floss. If it is hard for you to use regular floss, then it is a good idea for you to use a handheld flosser.

If you are a smoker, then you should quit. People who smoke are much more likely to develop gum disease. They are also more likely to develop lung cancer and heart disease.

Additionally, you can take in more vitamin C and vitamin K. Vitamin C is found in carrots, oranges, red peppers, and sweet potatoes. Vitamin K is found in leafy greens.

Talk to Your Dentist

Still struggling with bleeding gums when you floss? Contact the San Marcos TX dentist office of Dr. Larry D. Molenda, D.D.S. to learn how we can help.