Preventative dental care is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. In fat, your daily dental routine is one of the most important preventative measures you can take to protect your oral health. The American Dental Association recommends that a daily routine should consist of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. This ensures that plaque is removed from all your tooth surfaces. However, many people struggle with the flossing portion of this daily routine. Nevertheless it is important to be sure that you are flossing correctly. Here are some common flossing mistakes to watch out for when you floss:
When you floss your teeth, it is important to make sure that you are flossing all the places that need to be flossed. Oftentimes, many people forget to floss behind the last molars and this is a common place for plaque and food debris to accumulate. Another common area that gets missed is along the sides of teeth, as well as slightly below the gum line.
Using Too Much Force
You don’t need to apply excess force while flossing and you should move the floss across your teeth gently. You will also need to take special care not to snap the floss down onto your gums, since this can cause gum irritation. Ideally, floss should only tough the surfaces of your teeth and along the gum line. Other than that, you will want to limit the amount of contact between your gums and floss.
Flossing Too Much or Too Little
In rare cases, some people may floss too much. Contrary to what you would think, flossing more actually does more harm than good because it irritates the gums and can increase the risk of gum disease. However, not flossing regularly can also cause plaque to accumulat, which can also increase the risk of gum disease. To minimize the risk, it is recommended to floss regularly once a day. Flossing once a day removes plaque accumulation without causing excess gum irritation.
Flossing at the Wrong Time
Since it is recommended to only floss once a day, there is a specific time that you should floss to get the most of your daily flossing. The best time to floss is before you brush just before going to bed. Flossing before you brush eliminates plaque buildup between the teeth, which makes it easier for the fluoride from toothpaste to settle between the teeth. Flossing and brushing before bed is important because both activities remove plaque and bacteria from your mouth before saliva production is decreased during sleep. Since bacteria can cause more damage with decreased saliva levels, this helps to reduce the amount of damage done to your teeth while you sleep.
Using the Wrong Floss
There are several different types of dental floss that can be used to meet a variety of dental needs. Oftentimes, people may be using the wrong type of floss for their teeth, which can make flossing tedious and frustrating. Doing some research on the best type of floss for your teeth helps to make your flossing routine much easier, faster, and more effective.
Dr. April Toyer became a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry in 2011 and is proud to be a consultant for the Committee of Sedation and Anesthesia within the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.