Flossing is an essential part of healthy oral hygiene, like it or not, and flossing the right way can be the difference between a new cavity and a naturally perfect smile. The American Dental Association recommends that every person floss daily to optimize their dental health, as does the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Dental floss is one of the best tools available to clean plaque and bits of food from between your teeth, where your toothbrush is unable to reach. Removing this plaque is essential to maintain good oral hygiene in terms of health and the quality of your breath.
However, what many people don’t know is that there is a wrong way to floss your teeth, which can be more harmful than helpful in improving your oral health. To that end, we have put together a list of a few of the common flossing mistakes you should avoid in order to keep your smile pearly white and plaque-free.
Don’t Floss Roughly
While you may have heard that “your teeth/mouth should bleed” for the first few weeks of flossing to build tough gums, that simply isn’t true. You want to get the plaque off your teeth, but you don’t want to wound yourself in the process, as this can actually lead to other dental concerns. Instead, floss with a slow, firm pressure between your teeth to scrape the plaque out.
Don’t Floss Too Quickly
Flossing too quickly is a poor technique in and of itself, but the habit can also lead to other bad flossing methods. Frequently, flossing too quickly misses plaque on the teeth or can irritate and scrape the skin of your gums. This is another way in which poor flossing habits can make your gums bleed.
Don’t Floss Too Often
Flossing too frequently will irritate and damage your gums, sometimes with permanent consequences. While it doesn’t matter what time of day you floss, keep in mind that you only need to floss your entire mouth once in a 24-hour period. The exception to this is if you eat a meal that gets stuck between your teeth, in which case, you should only floss the teeth that need it, not your whole mouth over again.
Don’t Pull the Floss into Your Gums
In addition to being gentle with your teeth, you should be mindful of how you move your floss. When you floss your bottom teeth, you want to move the plaque up and out of your teeth, and vice versa for your top teeth. This means that it’s not necessary to shove the floss into your gums, as not only does it not serve a purpose, but it can be harmful to your gums.
Putting pressure on your gums can cause pain, sensitivity, and bleeding, especially if you have unhealthy gums or sensitive skin. Additionally, if you make a habit of yanking the floss against your gums, you can leave lasting damage by molding your gum into a cleft or a furrow, which will cause other gum problems down the line.
Don’t Use Flossing as Your Only Dental Cleanser
Flossing is an excellent way to improve and maintain your oral hygiene if it’s used in conjunction with other cleaning methods, including brushing your teeth and gargling with mouthwash. Flossing alone is not suitable to clean the plaque from your teeth, remove harmful bacteria from your mouth, or improve your breath, all of which are important aspects of good oral hygiene.
Call Us Today for your Dental Concerns
The Dental Group of Simi Valley in Simi Valley, CA is here to answer any dental questions you may have and welcome you as a patient as part of our family. If you are experiencing any distress or discomfort as a result of your flossing routine, feel free to reach out with questions, concerns, or other comments.
The Dental Group of Simi Valley has been proudly improving the smiles and oral hygiene in our community since 1963. We are a family-owned practice in our second generation of dentists who take great care and satisfaction in serving our patients and our community with a smile. Call us today to speak to one of our representatives and to make an appointment at your convenience. We look forward to meeting you and helping you create a healthy dental regimen for years to come.