Many dental patients may have no trouble maintaining their brushing routine, but regular flossing is a problem. Dentistry Today says that 58% of people don't floss at all. However, flossing is an incredibly important part of your at-home care. Flossing removes plaque from below the gum line, which can reduce the risk of plaque buildup, cavities, and gum disease. If you want to improve this habit, be sure to avoid the following mistakes.
Flossing After You Brush Your Teeth
The Journal of Periodontology reported a study that looked at the ideal brushing-flossing sequence. Some patients may not think that the order of operations really matters, but this study found when people flossed first and then brushed their teeth, they had significantly less plaque build-up on and between their teeth. This group also saw better fluoride concentrations in interdental plaque. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens your teeth so they can resist cavity-causing bacteria.
Flossing Your Gums Instead of the Base of the Tooth
When flossing, some people may use a sawing motion on their gums or just pop the floss in and out of the interdental space. But improper flossing techniques can lead to gingival clefts or jaw bone loss. There is a proper technique for flossing. Instead of placing pressure on the gum tissue, you should focus on placing pressure toward the base of the tooth. Create a C-shaped curve with the floss and pull the floss up and down against the enamel.
Flossing with a Short Segment Instead of a Long String
Again, some people may just quickly pop the floss in and out of interdental spaces with one segment of the string. Reused floss can lose its effectiveness and shred, which could irritate your gums. Plus, there are microscopic bacteria on used pieces of floss, so it's better to twist a used portion of floss around your finger and use a new segment of floss for each tooth. If you use plastic dental flossers, be sure to use a few of them instead of just using one for your entire mouth.
Flossing Around Restorations with String Floss
Over-the-counter dental floss can work for many types of patients, but people with implants or other special restorations should ask their dentists for special flossing tools, such as water flossers. Why? Floss particles can increase the risk of peri-implantitis. While implant restorations look like your natural teeth, they don't contain a natural tooth's periodontal ligament, which acts as a protective barrier against bacteria. Without this barrier, floss could actually introduce bacteria underneath the implant. In short, you should floss around your natural teeth and follow your dentist's instructions regarding restorations.
For more info, contact a local family dentistry office.