flossing teeth

Why is flossing your teeth so important?

Flossing cleans surfaces in between teeth, something that brushing alone cannot achieve. If you’re not flossing your teeth, you’re not removing food particles which are gathering in between your teeth. This leads to cavity formation in between teeth, known as interproximal cavities. Failing to floss is typically a common precursor to gum disease as well. It turns out that flossing your teeth is just as important as brushing them, especially as you get older. Having good flossing habits is extremely crucial to the health of your teeth and gums, so stop making excuses and start flossing!

How should I floss my teeth?

First, grab a nice, long piece of dental floss about 12 to 18 inches long. Roll the dental floss firmly around your two index fingers making sure to get a tight grip so you have full control over the dental floss. Now pass the dental floss through the gap in between teeth. Make sure to floss only one gap at a time. No shortcuts allowed, flossing two gaps at once is ineffective and doesn’t clean the area properly. Once you go in, carefully wiggle the floss left and right against adjacent teeth. Your objective is to hug each tooth and remove the plaque which is forming in between teeth surfaces. Spend a few seconds flossing each region before moving on to the next one. Once you’ve cleaned each gap, roll the floss around your finger and proceed to clean the next region. Make sure not to skip any gaps, including the area behind your furthest positioned teeth. Proper flossing all of your teeth takes a few minutes so don’t rush through or you will leave plenty of plaque behind!

Is it a bad sign if my gums bleed during flossing?

You should see your dentist for a dental cleaning immediately if you’re suffering from bleeding gums since this is a sign of gum disease. If your gums continue to bleed after you’ve competed your dental cleaning, this could be one of two things. You may just have to give your gums some time to heal. Continue flossing properly every day as your bleeding gradually slows down and eventually stops. Should the bleeding go away within a few weeks, this is a sign that your gums were healing. You have nothing to worry about so continue flossing your teeth as you have been doing.

Correct Flossing Technique

If on the other hand the bleeding continues past a few weeks, or if the bleeding gets worse, then you must follow-up with your dentist immediately. You might require additional dental cleaning, antibiotics, irrigation or other periodontal treatment. It may also be that you’re not flossing your teeth correctly and need coaching on proper flossing techniques. Talk to Dr. Jazayeri if you have concerns about your bleeding gums or need help with your flossing technique.

Are floss-picks as effective as regular dental floss?

Not even close. Hand held floss picks, just like toothpicks, are not a substitute for daily flossing. However, they are an acceptable supplement to your flossing routine when normal flossing is inconvenient. For instance, it’s acceptable to use floss-picks when at work, during lunch break or when you’re out and about. However, you should not use a floss-pick as a substitute for your daily dental floss routine. The only exception is if you are incapable of using dental floss due to some sort of disability such as chronic pain, carpel tunnel or severe arthritis in your hands.