Our dental office in Downey, Ca frequently sees the same thing. It goes kind of like this: we’re going through our general questions at the start of any check-up and everything is going great until we get to the question about flossing, and then the patient pauses. His eyes, shift around looking for an answer – and he blurts out something like “a couple times a week. I promise!”
It’s okay to tell the truth, because our dental hygienists can and will get a great idea about how often you floss as your appointment coasts along. After-all – why hide vital information when it could mean better care for you in the long run?
For patients like this, another occurrence tends to happen: the dreaded bloody gums. If you’ve ever proudly sauntered up to the bathroom mirror thinking, “I can do this – I can be better about flossing!”, only to be met with a bloody mess seconds later – don’t worry too much. A countless number of patients ask us “why do my teeth bleed when I floss?” and it’s most commonly because you just don’t floss enough.
The gums are a very sensitive organ, which is why we encourage patients to really get them clean to help their fight against plaque, bacteria, and gum disease. But when you don’t floss and only rely on your toothbrush and maybe some mouthwash – your gums don’t get the workout they need to stay tough. Like a pair of soft hands after a hard day of manual-labor, the gums tend to revolt the only way they know how: by bleeding, and maybe even getting a little inflamed.
This is usually not an emergency. But if it continues for an extended period of time – you should contact your dentist, as you could be experiencing the early signs of gum disease (which is still very treatable).