Do You Need Stitches After Cutting Your Gum With A Flossing Pick?

Dentist Blog

Flossing picks are tricky little things. One minute you're trying to remove a piece of food that is trapped between your teeth, and the next minute the end of the pick breaks free and scrapes across your gum. A cut on the gum can be no laughing matter when it won't stop bleeding. So what do you do to stem the blood flow? And when is it time to get concerned enough to make an appointment with your dentist?

Why Do Gums Bleed Easily When Cut?

There are a number of contributing factors which explain why some people's gums bleed easier than others. When women are pregnant, for example, the changes in their hormone levels can contribute to sensitive gums. Alternatively, gums that bleed easily could be a sign you have gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs when you have a buildup of bacteria on the gums. This bacteria causes the gums to become inflamed, and inflamed gums bleed more easily than those not suffering from gingivitis.

A third explanation for gums that bleed easily is a nutritional deficiency in your diet. Vitamin C or K deficiencies can show up through bleeding gums. However, to properly diagnose this you will need to visit your doctor and have blood tests done.

How Can You Slow Down A Bleeding Gum Cut?

Unless the cut is over an inch long, you can try to stem the flow of blood yourself. Take a clean, soft cloth and apply gentle pressure to the cut area in an effort to stem the flow of blood to a point that it congeals.

If you have an oral gel in the house, such as the type you would use to treat teething children or canker sores for adults, you can put a little dab of this on the bleeding area. Once the bleeding has stopped, swish salty water in the mouth twice a day to encourage healing. Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in a glass of cold water and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds.

Take care to avoid hot drinks while the cut area is healing as the heat will open the cut up again.

When Should You Go To The Dentist?

If the cut is bigger than one inch, it seems deep, or it won't stop bleeding after an hour's pressure then you must call your dentist and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. It may be that you need stitches to stop the area from bleeding; however, this cannot be determined until the dentist has examined your mouth.

The best way to avoid cutting your gums with flossing picks is to exercise a little caution when you are using them. However, if they do cause your gums to bleed in the future, you now know how to handle the problem.


28 January 2016

Teeth And Tears: Dental Dramas Of A School Nurse

I have worked as a school nurse for decades. Children come to me with all sorts of scrapes and bumps and bruises. Black eyes from playing football, sprained wrists from falling off the monkey bars and stomachaches from too many sweets are common complaints. However, the issue that seems to cause the greatest angst is tooth problems. Sometimes a child will have a second tooth knocked out when playing sport and parents arrive in tears. At other times, children come to my office crying because their friends are teasing them about teeth that are discoloured or stick out. I take an active interest in the latest dental news so that I can give parents and children comfort and advice. I have included some of my collected wisdom on these pages. Perhaps this information can help you understand some options when faced with a dental problem. Thank you for reading.