You may think that proper flossing technique is common sense, but lots of people aren't doing it properly, and you may be one of them. Here are four flossing mistakes that you need to stop making to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy.
Not flossing often enough
Dentists recommend flossing your teeth at least once a day, but many people don't do this. According to the American Dental Association, just over half of Americans floss their teeth every day. Nearly one-third of Americans floss their teeth sometimes, but not daily like they're supposed to. Nearly one-fifth don't floss at all. These are shocking numbers, especially since it's common knowledge that you're supposed to floss every day.
To help yourself remember to floss, make it a part of your routine. Every night after you brush your teeth, take a couple of minutes to floss. Over time, it will become just as much a part of your routine as brushing your teeth is.
Re-using the same section of floss
The American Dental Hygienists' Association recommends using an 18-inch piece of floss when you brush your teeth, and the reason for that length isn't just to make it easier to wrap the floss around your fingers. The reason for the length recommendation is so that you can use a clean piece of teeth in between every tooth. If you're using the same section of floss for all of your teeth, you're spreading bacteria throughout your mouth and aren't getting your teeth as clean as they would be if you didn't re-use your floss.
As you floss, take the time to switch to a clean section of floss for each tooth. This takes a bit longer than your old technique, but it helps to get the spaces between your teeth clean.
Using too much force
You may think that more force is better when it comes to flossing, but you don't need to use much force to dislodge food and plaque from the sides of your teeth. Too much force isn't just unnecessary; it can also be harmful.
When you floss, gently guide your floss along the sides of your teeth and carefully curve it along your gum line. Try to avoid pushing too hard against your teeth or gums to avoid damaging your enamel or slicing into your gum tissue.
Not flossing around restorations
Restorations like dental implants and crowns can't develop tooth decay like your natural teeth can, so you may think that there's no point flossing between or around them. This is a mistake since tooth decay prevention isn't the only reason you need to floss your teeth. Getting rid of food, plaque, and bacteria in the gaps between your teeth is also important for your gum health. If you don't clean between your restorations, the gum tissue in the area can become irritated and inflamed; this is known as gum disease.
Gum disease can cause a lot of problems for your oral health. It can make your gums recede, which will expose the root of your tooth that isn't covered by your crown. This exposed area will be sensitive. Gum disease can also lead to abscesses, pockets of pus along your gum tissue. You can even end up losing your teeth as a result of gum disease. This is why it's so important to keep flossing around all of your teeth, even the ones that are made of porcelain, metal, or another decay-proof material.
Flossing is an important part of your daily oral care routine, but to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy, you need to avoid making any of these four mistakes. For more information on how to keep up with your oral health, contact resources like Maplewood Dental Associates, PA.