5 Flossing Mistakes You Must Avoid
Brushing teeth. Do you floss? Every day?
Dental floss is designed to get the plaque out from between your teeth and in those hard-to-reach places. Leave the plaque where it is and you can develop tartar or gum disease.
But even if you floss regularly, you might be going about it in a way that actually does your teeth harm. Are you making any of these flossing mistakes?
Bad Idea 1: Floss before brushing.
The best oral hygiene routine is to brush, then floss, then rinse. If you floss first, you may actually push additional bacteria into the spaces between your teeth. Then, when you rinse after flossing, you can help to rinse away any particles that may have been loosened in your mouth by flossing.
Bad Idea 2: Floss in the morning.
Actually, flossing should be a part of your evening oral hygiene routine. This helps to ensure that you get an entire night’s rest for your mouth to fight off tooth-decay causing bacteria. Flossing in the morning is not necessary. Once a day is enough.
Bad Idea 3: Floss until your gums bleed.
Be gentle when you floss. If your gums are bleeding, you’re being too rough. To floss properly:
- gently slide the floss at the top of the tooth.
- Move the floss down to the gum line and bring it under, then remove it.
- Shift to a clean section of floss to clean between the next tooth: the previous section of floss is full of bacteria, so you don’t want to reuse it.
- If you’re being gentle and your gums still bleed, it could be a sign of gum disease. See your dental hygienist to handle this.
Bad Idea 4: Buy only waxed/unwaxed floss because it’s better.
Floss types and brands are a personal preference. However, many people feel that waxed or ‘ribbon’ floss is easier to fit between their teeth and is gentler on their gums. These types of floss may be less likely to shred, but are also more expensive.
Bad Idea 5: Use mouthwash to replace flossing.
Mouthwash does not get the bacteria between your teeth, or just below the gum line. It may kill bacteria on dental surfaces missed by brushing and flossing; however, nothing outdoes the brushing/flossing/rinsing routine.
Make this your motto. Brush. Then floss. Then rinse. It’s a lot cheaper, and less painful, than having your teeth slowly decay in your mouth.
Also, it’s a good idea to get regular cleanings from a dental hygienist. Only a professional cleaning can remove tartar and plaque that can’t be reached at home.