Many of us have seen some blood coming from our gums when flossing or using our toothbrush. Bleeding of the gums could of course be caused by so many different local or systemic diseases or factors. But the main and most common reason for bleeding of the gums is a condition called gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. This condition is usually caused by inefficient and inadequate removal of dental plaque (dental plaque is an organic bio-film or the whitish goo which is continuously being formed by oral bacteria on every tooth surface) 

When we brush or floss daily, our main purpose is to remove the plaque, which is formed as a sticky bio-film attached to every tooth surface. Many people think that removal of food particles is the main intent of brushing and flossing. This is not true. This is actually secondary to mechanical removal of plaque. Just to describe what plaque is: 

If you have ever forgotten to brush your teeth in the morning, then in the afternoon you can scratch off a white goo off your teeth with the tip of your fingernail. That white goo is plaque. Oral bacteria produce this organic stuff around themselves in order to be able to proliferate and attach themselves to the teeth. 

The most common cause of bleeding of the gums is this plaque. The immune system in the gums reacts to this bacterial nest and creates inflammation in contact with it. So, flossing works as a windshield wiper with teeth being the windshield. 

This picture shows how the floss should be used (munnhygiene). Think of the space between two teeth is made of two tooth surfaces. Floss should be swiped up and down on both tooth surfaces. This swiping dislodges plaque on those surfaces. When this happens, either the saliva or rinsing with water easily removes the dislodged plaque. Although, the plaque usually gets stuck on the floss. 

In order to put a stop to the bleeding, the floss should be used at least once daily in a continuous fashion. If you have not been using floss on a regular basis, you will experience bleeding and tenderness of the gums. All this can be irritating for the first or second time. However, after a couple of days, the bleeding and tenderness will subside (if there is not anything else causing the inflammation ergo bleeding of the gums). 

Things like dental calculus or tartar which is a calcified and hardened form of dental plaque cannot be removed by flossing. This will require a little tougher so-called scaling of the tooth surface (scaling means cleaning the tooth surface with a very small tipped sharp instrument). Now you have to remember, the tooth surfaces that are repaired with fillings which are not smooth or optimally contoured are difficult to get cleaned or wiped by floss. Think of a windshield that is bumpy. Will the windshield wiper work properly on such a bumpy surface? For such cases, use of inter-dental brushes are much more effective. 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 830 other subscribers.

Follow us on Twitter