Greetings Plymouth! It’s hard to believe it’s almost the end of August already. Welcome back to our ongoing dental health blog. Today, we’re going to talk about flossing.
Flossing is one of the most important preventive measures you can take to protect your teeth, and oral health. Proper flossing removes plaque, and wards off gum disease. Yet, many Americans do not floss. We believe that is due to several misconceptions surrounding flossing, and we’d like to address those today.
Flossing Shouldn’t Hurt
If your gums bleed, or are otherwise in pain from flossing it could be a sign of a number of things. The most likely cause is simply flossing too roughly; you do not need to use much force when you floss. But painful gums from flossing could also be an early sign of gum disease, so you may want to come in for a check-up.
That said, a little bit of blood or pain is normal if it is your first-time flossing in a long time. This pain should be completely temporary, and go away after the first week or so of regular flossing. If the bleeding continues for more than a week or so, make an appointment at the office.
Flossing Is About More Than Removing Food
Get a kernel of popcorn stuck in your teeth can be quite painful. Floss is great way to remove it, and far safer for your gums than a toothpick. However, your floss plays a more important role than just a toothpick substitute.
Whenever you eat, bacteria remains on your teeth after you finish. This bacteria eventually turns into an acidic film of plaque. Plaque is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. Much of the plaque on your teeth builds up in-between the teeth, so flossing helps remove plaque that your toothbrush can’t reach.
It Doesn’t Matter When You Floss
Most people prefer to floss after they finish brushing their teeth in the evening. Some prefer to do it before they brush. Both are good habits.
The most important thing is just to make sure that you’re doing it at least once a deal. If you’re prone to forgetting to do it in the evening, try making it part of your morning routine. Even after lunch is a good time.
If you have children, it’s important that they begin flossing as soon as they develop teeth. An easy way for a parent to get into a routine of flossing is to do it at the same time as their children; this ensures everyone remembers to do it, and allows you to make sure your child is using the proper techniques.
You Should Find a Brand of Floss You’re Comfortable With
If it hurts when you floss, the solution to your problem could be as simple as switching the type of floss you use. Waxed, unwaxed, and so-called comfort varieties of floss are all effective tools to use. Don’t be afraid to switch it up, and try a new kind of floss. You may just find it makes flossing a lot easier.
Floss alternatives can also be an effective way of cleaning between your teeth. A lot of our patients like to a floss-pick; there are even some varieties with a long handle that are as easy to use as a tooth brush. Water flossers, or water picks, tend to be slightly less effective than other types of flossing devices. However, using them is still preferable to do nothing at all.
You May Still Get Cavities, Even if You Floss Everyday
Cavities are sometimes an unfortunate part of life. We’ve treated a lot of patients who have great brushing and flossing habits, yet still seem to develop a cavity or two. They are often shocked to learn they have a cavity, because we’ve caught it early enough that there’s no pain from it.
In general, some plaque and most dental tartar can be pretty stubborn. But a professional cleaning at our office can remove all those nasty deposits from your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that you have your teeth clean every six months; that’s an excellent way to prevent cavities.
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