Flossing seems simple enough.
All you need to do is slide a piece of string between your teeth and remove any plaque, food, and gunk from those tough-to-reach spaces. Unfortunately, many people have trouble getting the most out of their flossing routine.
If you’re making the following flossing mistakes, you may not be giving your teeth and gums the treatment they deserve.
1. Flossing Too Much or Not Enough
A lot of people still don’t floss as often as they should. Though the American Dental Association says we should all be flossing every day, only around 30% of people follow these guidelines. The more you floss, the more you reduce your risk of gum disease and other common oral hygiene problems.
Flossing every day is the best way to protect your teeth and gums – just be careful not to go over the top. Flossing too much can be just as detrimental to your health because it causes gum irritation and sometimes pain.
2. Missing Important Spots
Being thorough is crucial when you’re flossing. Although you shouldn’t spend hours in front of your mirror, it’s important to floss both sides of the teeth, moving slowly from one section to the next. You might need to consider getting special floss threaders to work around any dental appliances or implants you may have in your mouth.
Focus on cleaning as much of your mouth as possible, including the teeth at the very back of your jaw. It might help to have a plan of action for where you’re going to start and finish, so you’re not just flossing aimlessly.
3. Constantly Using the Same Section of Floss
When you’re flossing, you’re removing bacteria and food from between your teeth and around the gums. Using the same section of floss all around your mouth can mean you’re spreading a lot of bacteria. Try using different sections of floss when you notice that your existing section is getting worn down. You can even rinse your mouth again after flossing to get rid of the remaining bacteria.
4. Flossing at The Wrong Time
It’s important to floss every day – not just when you have food wedged in your teeth. However, since experts recommend flossing only once per day to avoid harming your gums, it’s important to know when to get started. Ideally, you’ll want to floss before you go to sleep each night.
Flossing before you go to bed makes your mouth as clean as possible when you’re sleeping. Saliva production decreases during sleep, which often means that bacteria can do more harm. Flossing before you brush your teeth is also a good idea, as it will help you remove more debris.
5. Being Too Rough or Quitting Too Early
When you’re flossing, avoid snapping the floss down between your teeth too hard as this can cause damage to your gums and even lead to receding gums in some cases.
Be careful with your teeth, but don’t panic if you see a little bit of blood. If you are starting to floss for the first time in a while, your gums may react by getting a little inflamed and red—and even bleeding a bit. This doesn’t mean you should stop flossing. Rather, it means you should continue to floss with care. After your gums get used to a regular flossing routine, they should stop bleeding when you floss.
6. Using the Wrong Technique
It’s all in the technique! Hold the floss taut and run it between two teeth. Glide it up and down the sides of both teeth, making sure to cover the area from the gum line (where food tends to get lodged) to the highest point of contact between the teeth.
To avoid damaging your gums, avoid using too much downward pressure, as this can cause gum discomfort and bleeding. Pushing the floss against the side of your tooth, on the other hand, will help to remove plaque.
7. Choosing the Wrong Type of Floss
There are different kinds of floss available, and they’re designed to do different things. Some people will prefer to use basic dental floss for most of their needs but may need a special device to get into difficult-to-reach places, such as between braces and around dentures. There’s also specialist floss available for crowded teeth.
If you’re not sure what kind of floss is suitable for your needs, speak to your dentist. They’ll be able to give you advice on which floss types will be easiest for you to use.
Flossing Right Won’t Cure Progressive Gum Diseases
Although there are many benefits to flossing using the correct technique, it’s not a remedy for gum diseases that have advanced beyond gingivitis. Cases like periodontitis require professional cleaning and sometimes even medication or surgery.
If you feel any of these symptoms, consider making an appointment with a Utah dentist to protect your teeth right away. Gum disease shouldn’t be taken lightly; progressive gum disease, if left unaddressed, can aggravate other illnesses and lead to advanced oral health problems.