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Bleeding Gums: What to do if your gums bleed when you brush and floss?

Bleeding while brushing and flossing is an all too common dental concern. Have you ever looked down at the sink after your oral routine and wondered why there is blood in the sink or on your toothbrush?

Depending on the stage of infection, this can either be a severe problem or an easy fix.

If your gums are bleeding during brushing and flossing, you may have gum disease that can be categorized as gingivitis or periodontitis. Your dentist in Richardson, TX, will explain why your gums and bleeding and what you can do to stop it. 

Stages of gum disease.


Bleeding gums

Like most Americans, you may not brush twice daily for 2 minutes with an electric toothbrush and floss every night.

If you are like most people whose oral care could be improved, you may have the beginning stages of gum disease. Gum disease typically starts as gingivitis which is inflammation of the gums. 

Like most inflammation, your gums will be full of fluid and will enlarge to look puffy and red. If the plaque and tartar are properly removed with professional dental cleanings, and you improve your oral hygiene routine, gingivitis is reversible.

Most patients have some gingivitis, and if properly taken care of, this can be a harmless issue that is very quickly resolved.


Bone loss

If gingivitis is not addressed, the infection can become more significant and cause inflammation of the periodontal complex or the portion of the bone and tissue that holds the tooth in place.

The problem with periodontitis is it is accompanied by tooth attachment loss and bone disease.

You may have seen someone with periodontitis, and you can see their roots because their bone loss has gotten so severe.

If periodontitis continues without treatment, the patient will undoubtedly lose their teeth. Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis is not fully reversible without intensive treatment. 

Once you lose bone loss, you can not regain it on your own, and that’s why at Thrive Dental and Orthodontics, we are so passionate about preventative care like prophy and six-month cleanings, as you can avoid bone and tooth loss.

How to cure my bleeding gums?

If you only have gingivitis, this is cured by improving your brushing and flossing and getting a proper dental cleaning.

Once the disease has progressed to periodontitis, you will likely need a deep cleaning and periodontal maintenance.

As mentioned, you will not regrow bone on your own, but you can prevent the bone loss from progressing. 

What is the difference between a deep cleaning and a prophy?

When you have mild gingivitis, you likely will need a routine cleaning, aka prophy. If you have bone loss and bleeding around a few teeth, your Richardson dentist will likely recommend a deep cleaning followed by shorter intervals between each cleaning.

With a deep cleaning, the hygienist will clean underneath the gums to remove plaque and tartar from the deep pockets around your teeth.

This procedure may require numbing but can save you from losing your teeth in the future. 


If your gums are bleeding when you brush or floss, that is a sign of disease. Come into Thrive Dental and Orthodontics in Richardson, TX, so we can conduct a proper exam and help you keep your teeth for your whole life. 

Dr. Nathan Coughlin with patient