Bleeding gums and Why Silk Floss May Not Be the Best Choice

porque me sangran las encias

It is not uncommon for individuals to experience bleeding gums, a condition that may be a source of confusion and concern. I recall encountering such a case during my early years as a dental student. A patient had approached me with concerns about their bleeding gums, expressing that they were unable to use dental floss due to an apparent allergy which only worsened the bleeding. Despite my limited experience at the time, I tried my best to determine the cause of the issue, but unfortunately, I was unable to provide a satisfactory solution for the patient, who had come from out of town seeking dental advice.

With the benefit of experience and knowledge gained over time, I now recognize that there are several reasons why gums may bleed. While gum disease is a common cause, other factors such as hormonal changes, brushing too hard, and even vitamin deficiencies can contribute to bleeding gums. Additionally, while dental floss is an effective tool for maintaining healthy gums, some individuals may experience discomfort or bleeding due to an improper flossing technique, using the wrong type of floss, or underlying gum issues. It is important to consult with a dental professional to determine the underlying cause of bleeding gums and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Why do gums bleed?

The patient in question had avoided using dental floss due to fear of discomfort, despite already having developed mild gingivitis. When the patient finally tried flossing, they noticed that their gums appeared even more swollen the following day, and were bleeding. This is a normal response of the body when it is in the process of healing. Just like when we scratch ourselves, the affected area may appear more inflamed the next day due to the body’s defense system being activated and increasing blood flow to the area. This process can cause temporary bleeding in the gums and leave them looking more inflamed than before. However, it is important to note that this is only a temporary response and should resolve on its own.

What to do to reduce bleeding gums?

  1. ALWAYS floss, at least once a day:

    To prevent bleeding gums, it is recommended to increase the frequency of flossing. Within four days, you may notice a reduction in gum inflammation, with continued improvement over time. It is important to note that dental floss should be used not only in the spaces where gum tissue is visible, but also between all teeth, from side to side. Flossing should ideally be done after brushing, as part of a thorough dental hygiene routine that effectively removes bacterial plaque from areas that the brush may have missed. By incorporating flossing into your regular dental care routine, you can help prevent bleeding gums and promote overall oral health.

  2. Using special toothpaste for gums temporarily:

    As of the time of writing this article in 2020, one of the creams I frequently recommend for this purpose in Colombia is Parodontax. Despite containing very natural components, some patients may not prefer its taste due to its lack of the typical strong mint flavor found in other dental creams. However, its effectiveness in reducing gum inflammation is significant and should not be overlooked.

  3. Use alcohol-free mouthwash:

    While none of these products can replace the use of dental floss, they can be helpful in managing acute situations and promoting faster improvement. It is important to note that when selecting a rinse, you should opt for an alcohol-free option, as alcohol can cause a burning sensation in the gums and potentially hinder progress towards better oral health.

  4. Get a professional dental cleaning:

    When experiencing bleeding gums, it is important to always perform this step in order to effectively remove calculus that may have been missed during brushing. Additionally, this step allows for a dentist to assess whether the issue can be resolved through improved cleaning habits or if there is an underlying periodontal disease that requires specialist consultation or x-rays for proper treatment. Therefore, incorporating this step into your regular dental care routine can help prevent future issues and promote overall oral health.

  5. Perform gingivectomy:

    In cases where the size of the gums has increased significantly, simply changing cleaning habits may not be sufficient to stop the bleeding. In such situations, a straightforward procedure known as gingivectomy, or gum trimming, may be recommended. This procedure allows for optimal access for brushing and flossing between teeth. It involves a minor surgical operation, typically performed under local anesthesia, where the excess gum tissue is trimmed away. This can help to alleviate the bleeding and promote better oral health.

    Las encías también pueden sangrar cuando el aumento del tamaño de la encía ha sido considerable, en muchas ocasiones no es suficiente el cambio de hábitos. En estos casos se puede realizar una gingivectomía simple (Recorte de encías) y con este proceso el cepillo y la seda ingresara de forma más optima entre los surcos dentales. Es un procedimiento muy sencillo que solo requiere de anestesia local en la encía que se desea “recortar”.


Sara Pelaez Monsalve

Aesthetic dentistry with more than 14 years of experience in the field. Founder of Clinica Viena and Viena Kids (clinic focused on pediatric dentistry). Professional focused on patient care, on the application of best practices and high-quality world-class treatments.

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