Here are some of the common mistakes people make when flossing. Inspect your normal flossing routine and find out how you can improve your good habits.
First, are you using your whole section of floss? You shouldn’t just use one small part of the floss for all of your teeth.
It’s like using a soaking wet paper towel to dry a water spill. It just doesn’t work.
You end up spreading around the bacteria as opposed to removing it. Slowly moving your way along your piece of floss will keep a fresh, clean section removing plaque every time.
Second, how are your back teeth looking? Many forget to get their furthest molars.
They’ll get to the last crack between teeth and think they’re done. They forget about the outer edge of their molar that doesn’t touch another tooth.
There’s often more plaque there than on any other tooth. Be sure to go behind your last teeth.
Three, are you snapping the floss hard between your teeth? This usually happens when you have to teeth close together.
You push down hard to get it through the crack. The result is a snapping sensation that is often accompanied by a brief flare of pain from the gums.
That’s your gums protesting the motion. They’ll start receding if you keep it up.
Instead of applying hard downward pressure, try working it down. Rub it back and forth with a gentle, but firm pressure down.
This should soften the blow to your gums. It’ll keep them healthy.
Fourth, are you flossing both sides of the teeth? Many go down, and then up repeatedly.
They may scrape the side of one tooth, but miss the adjacent one. Rub around one tooth, and then the other to complete your cleaning.
You have at least 56 surfaces to clean (without wisdom teeth, 64 with them). Make sure you get them all.
Fifth, are you applying pressure to the tooth surface? Although you shouldn’t apply pressure to gums, you should apply it to the tooth surface.
Don’t fear hurting your bone. It’s stronger than your gums and can take more.
In fact, some of that plaque will cake itself onto your tooth if you don’t apply that pressure, requiring more intense cleaning later anyways. Put on the pressure.
Just put the pressure against your tooth. If you start digging into your gums, you’ve done too much.
Sixth, do you stop flossing when you see blood? Does the sight of blood stop you for the evening?
If you’re not flossing too hard, then it’s simply a sign that you haven’t flossed in a while. Your gums are becoming red and inflamed (symptoms of gingivitis).
The more you floss, the less your gums will bleed, meaning they’re getting healthier. Blood isn’t always a sign of losing a battle.
Seventh, are you only flossing when you get food stuck between your teeth? Plaque is a sign that you have leftover food between your pearls.
You can’t feel it, but it’s still there. Get it out, because otherwise it will give you cavities and gum disease.
Every effort counts so pat yourself on the back for your work so far. Evaluate your flossing habits this evening and see what you can do to improve.
Author: Dentist McPherson who provides patients with quality care day in and day out, helps identify their weak points in tooth care, and teaches them how to improve.