Next to brushing, flossing your teeth is the most important daily practice for great oral health. It helps scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth and remove harmful bacteria from your gums. However, many of us make common mistakes that keep us from doing the best floss job possible. Thankfully, all of these mistakes are easily fixable, and after a short read, you can better your technique and ensure healthy gums and shining teeth.
1. Flossing Too Much or Too Little
To be truly effective, flossing should be done daily. Plaque and tartar can build up quickly, and only flossing every few days will do very little in helping keep your teeth free of harmful particles and bacteria. However, there is such a thing as flossing too much. There’s no need to floss more than once a day. In fact, you can begin to harm your gums if you floss too much. Creating a simple routine that helps you floss only once a day (after you shower in the morning, or before you go to bed at night) and sticking to it will help guarantee you floss just the right amount.
2. Using the Wrong Motion
When flossing, your main objective is to scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth. This is essential to keeping plaque and bacteria from moving inside pockets of your gums. In order to scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth, you should be using an up and down motion. However, many use a front and back motion. Remember, you are not shining a shoe. Push against the side of the tooth with your floss and scrap down on the top teeth and up on the bottom.
3. Not Cleaning Both Sides of Your Teeth
When scraping the sides of your teeth, make sure that you scrape both sides. It’s not enough to slip the floss between your teeth then snap it back out. You need to consciously push against both sides of your teeth and push the plaque off. Start on one side, then move to the next.
4. Take Your Time
Many people don’t realize how much time they should realistically spend on each tooth. For the best results you should spend a few seconds on each side of a tooth, scraping about ten times. Plaque is hard to remove, and doing a quick once-over will not help much. You need to make sure you really scrape on each side of the tooth until you hear a squeak (that’s the sound of your teeth becoming squeaky clean).
5. Stopping When Your Gums Bleed
Sometimes, especially if you haven’t flossed in a while, your gums can start bleeding when flossing. Gum disease causes this. Your gums are inflamed and will start bleeding when becoming irritated. This is because you have too much plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Rather than stopping, you need to continue flossing. If you avoid the mistakes above and floss daily, the bleeding will subside over time and eventually stop.
Flossing is extremely important for great oral health. By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing great oral hygiene, you will have a bright smile for many years. If you have any questions, or would like to talk to a professional about your oral health, contact Water Tower Dental Care. We are happy to help.