Did you know there is a right way and a wrong way to floss your teeth? Being sure to use the correct flossing technique is an easy and effective way to preserve your oral health. Flossing daily is recommended by the American Dental Association to remove excess plaque from places your toothbrush cannot reach, like between the teeth and along the gum line. However, not only is important to floss daily, but it is important to make sure that you are using the proper technique to make the most of your flossing routine. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when flossing:
Hitting the Gums
Dental floss is intended to be used on the surface of the teeth and not on the gums. Still, it is common for people to accidentally snap the floss across the gum tissue or use heavy pressure while flossing. Since the gum tissue is sensitive, repetitive contact with dental floss can cause the gum tissue to become irritated. This can result in bleeding gums, gum recession, and even possible gum disease. To prevent these things from happening, it is recommended to be gentle while flossing and move the floss in the opposite direction of the gums.
Not Flossing Enough
Another extremely common mistake made when it comes to flossing is that many people don’t floss often enough. Despite the fact that the American Dental Association recommends flossing daily, a study by US News notes that only 30% of Americans actually floss daily. Unfortunately, skipping out on flossing means that plaque is able to accumulate in the hard to reach areas normally cleaned while flossing. As plaque continues to accumulate, the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease increases.
Flossing Too Much
Although flossing too much is not as common of a mistake, it can still be detrimental to your flossing routine. This is because flossing too much can cause gum irritation. As mentioned above, gum tissue is sensitive and flossing multiple times a day can do more harm than good. For this reason, it is only recommended to floss once a day.
To make the most of your flossing routine it is not only important to floss once a day, but it is also necessary to make sure that your flossing routine is comprehensive and covers your entire mouth. Oftentimes, dentists note that their patients have a few key areas they neglect while flossing. Behind the last molars is a common location missed while flossing, as well as along the sides of the teeth. When you floss, be sure to take your time and thoroughly clean your teeth.
Flossing at the Wrong Time
Since it is only recommended to floss once a day, knowing the best time to floss is key to maximizing the benefits of flossing. According to dental professionals, the best time to floss is before you go to sleep for the night. This is because saliva production decreases overnight, which allows bacteria to be more destructive. By removing excess plaque and bacteria from the surface of your teeth, this reduces the damage done to your teeth. Additionally, it is also recommended to floss your teeth before you brush in order to allow the fluoride from toothpaste to work its way in between your teeth.
Using the Wrong Floss
You may not know that there are different types of dental floss that all offer different benefits for different smiles. Taking some time to research the best type of dental floss for your smile can make your flossing routine easier and far more effective.
Dr. Mark and Dr. Gina Covington are committed to providing their patients with the highest level of care. Both doctors are members of the Academy of General Dentistry as well as the American Dental Association. Locally, both belong to the Western Piedmont Dental society and the Foothills Dental Continuum. Because dentistry is a dynamic field, continued education is a paramount concern. Both Dr. Mark and Dr. Gina have completed several hundred hours of continued education to become proficient in the science and placement of dental implants. This course of study has allowed them to become Fellows of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.