Although brushing your teeth twice a day is essential to your oral health, brushing alone won’t completely rid your teeth of food and bacteria. Using floss will take care of the places your toothbrush can’t reach so your mouth stays free of plaque buildup and gum disease.
Flossing is an essential step in your oral health routine and the American Dental Association recommends flossing once a day. Though it may seem like a simple task, flossing correctly isn’t always intuitive. Here are some common flossing mistakes we see at our office, plus how you can fix them:
1. Using Too Much Force
Smashing floss between your teeth will result in blunt trauma to your gums and teeth, and may potentially lead to a receding gum line. You’ll want to use firm yet gentle pressure while flossing to avoid causing any harm.
Sometimes the space between two teeth might be tighter than others, making it more difficult to get the floss down to your gums, but quickly shoving floss between your teeth is still a dangerous method. Instead, try a slow back and forth sawing motion between the teeth to avoid hard impact.
2. Stopping at the Sight of Blood
You may think that bleeding gums means it’s time to call it quits on flossing, but that’s actually a sign that you need to floss more. Gingivitis, or inflamed gums, is a result of lack of flossing. Flossing even when you see blood will help stimulate your gums and return them to a healthy state.
3. Not Switching Out Your Floss
It’s important to use a different section of floss for each tooth. Otherwise, you’ll spread plaque and bacteria from the recently cleaned tooth to your other teeth, defeating the whole purpose. Use a fresh piece of floss for every tooth to fully remove the bacteria and plaque in your mouth.
4. Missing Areas
Many people only focus on flossing the front of their teeth since that’s what’s immediately visible, but it’s important to pay equal attention to the back of your teeth to fully remove the buildup of germs. Another common mistake is not flossing both sides of your tooth. When you move the floss up and down it will naturally fall into one side of the tooth. You’ll need to be purposeful in flossing both sides of the tooth to avoid missing anything.
To keep your mouth healthy, be sure to schedule regular teeth cleanings as part of your dental care routine, in addition to caring for your smile at home.