My gums hurt when I floss, what could be causing it?

If you are experiencing pain in your gums when you floss, this is generally a sign that you have gingivitis. This is an inflammation that usually occurs when bacteria builds up in the layers of plaque which causes the gums to become inflamed. This causes your gums to bleed during activities such as flossing and brushing.

If left untreated, gingivitis can advance to gum disease. When this happens, the inner gum layer will pull away from the teeth. This allows food debris to collect in the resulting spaces. This can lead to infection. This infection will eventually break down the bone that holds your teeth in place, causing them to become loose or fall out. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in all adults. If your gums hurt when you floss, see Kane & Kerper dentistry for a checkup.

What causes gingivitis?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to gum disease:

  • Hormones – changes that happen during puberty, pregnancy, and even menstruation can make gums more sensitive.
  • Illness – if you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, or cancer these can interfere with your immune system, which puts you at a higher risk for infections in general, including gum disease.
  • Medication – certain prescription medications can affect your oral health, particularly if one of the side effects is dry mouth. Saliva has a protective effect on your gums and teeth. Other medications may cause the gum tissue to grow abnormally.
  • Family history – if you have a genetic history of dental disease, this can make you more likely to develop gingivitis.
  • Poor habits – if you do not floss or brush daily, or if you smoke this can make it easier to develop gingivitis.

How is gingivitis treated?

Gum disease treatment aims to reduce swelling, reduce the size of the pockets, and reduce the risk of infection. It will also stop the progression of the disease. The treatment will vary based on how far the disease has progressed. Your dentist will perform a full examination in order to determine which treatment will be best. In some cases, surgical treatment may be required if the disease is in one of the later stages.

If you come in a say to a us, “My gums hurt when I floss, what could be causing it?” we will give you a through exam and prepare a treatment plan for you.


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