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May 24, 2024 • 2min read • Brent Hicken

If My Gums Bleed, Should I Stop Flossing?

bleeding gums Los Altos

This is a key question occasionally asked by patients at the Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry. The answer, however, is “No!” Bleeding is probably a sign that you need to clean your teeth and gums more thoroughly—not leave them alone. It is practically impossible to clean effectively between teeth without using floss or an interdental brush.

If you have never flossed before, your gums might bleed the first few times you use floss. The bleeding may be due to dangerous gum inflammation, the beginnings of gum disease. Keep flossing gently and the bleeding generally stops within a week or two.

Gingivitis (gum disease) and the more advanced periodontal disease are extremely common in California and around the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that half of American adults aged 30 and over have periodontal disease. https://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm

If you don’t make flossing a habit, and your gums become sore, swollen, and tender, it could bring about gum disease. The good news is that, unlike tooth decay, gum disease can be reversed with improved oral hygiene.

It is important to correctly use dental floss to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth:

  1. Cut a length of floss about 18 inches long.
  2. Securely wind each end around your middle fingers.
  3. Take hold of the floss with your forefinger and thumb leaving about two inches to work with.
  4. Thread the floss between two teeth.
  5. Hold the floss tightly against the side of the tooth and move it up and away from the gumline. You want to clean the space between the tooth and gum without pulling more gum tissue away, so it’s vital to scrape up and out of the pocket.
  6. Move the floss around the tooth to clean every surface—especially those that your brush can’t reach. As you use a section of floss, unwind from one hand to access a clean piece. With 18 inches, you should have enough to provide a clean section for every tooth. If you run out, that’s okay. Just toss the used piece and cut a new one.

Some men and women find it easier to start on one end of the upper teeth and clean each gap one by one until they reach the end on the opposite side. Then repeat for the bottom row. Whatever system you decide on, make sure you clean around every tooth, including the back surfaces of the last molars.

At Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry, our goal is to help patients maintain healthy teeth and gums. Our dental hygienists not only perform the most thorough dental cleanings, but they also educate patients on proper brushing and flossing. If you have a child who needs extra help learning how to brush and floss correctly, schedule an appointment with our Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry child-friendly team.

Some patients have perfectly healthy teeth and gums but are not happy with their smiles due to cosmetic issues. We offer cutting-edge cosmetic dental services including teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, dental crowns, inlays/onlays, and tooth-colored filling replacement. Ask us about oral sedation options if you need help relaxing during dental treatment. You can rely on us to maintain the highest standard of safety and sterility at Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry.

 

Contact Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry

(650) 948-5524

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

99 3rd St
Los Altos, California
94022

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May 17, 2024 • 1 min read • bhicken

Discover Why Patients Trust Their Smile To Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry

Hi, I’m Dr. Joseph Field. Practicing dentistry at Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry is enjoyable and rewarding. I appreciate the relationships I have formed with my valued patients who trust me to care for their teeth. If you are one of my patients, let me thank you personally for allowing me to serve your dental… Continue reading If My Gums Bleed, Should I Stop Flossing?

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May 24, 2024 • 2 min read • bhicken

If My Gums Bleed, Should I Stop Flossing?