If you’re following your dentist’s orders, you floss every day to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But if you’ve noticed that flossing is causing your gums to bleed, it’s not a sign that you need to stop. It’s the opposite: Bleeding gums can be a sign that you have a bacterial infection that flossing will help get rid of. Research confirms that inflamed, infected gums are linked to heart disease, because chronic inflammation triggers the creation of immune-system chemicals in your bloodstream that contribute to the buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries. If the bleeding doesn’t subside after a few days, check with your dentist since it could be a sign of serious gum disease.
How to do it:
Aggressive flossing can cause bleeding, so make sure you are flossing properly: Wind an 18-inch piece of floss around the middle fingers of each hand. Pinch the floss between the thumbs and index fingers, leaving 1 or 2 inches in between. Use your thumbs to gently guide the floss between your teeth, then move the floss up and down using a zigzag motion. Don’t snap the floss between your teeth.