Young woman looks in mirror as she uses dental floss. Flossing. Dental care

Flossing Helps with Irritations

Have you ever had your gums start bleeding when you were flossing? Or perhaps you had food particles lodged between your teeth that caused discomfort? Any type of irritation in the mouth is a sign that something is amiss with your oral health. Flossing, as part of a complete oral health routine, can help minimize these types of irritations and contribute to a healthy smile.

Causes of Bleeding Gums

It’s fairly normal to experience bleeding gums on occasion, such as if you brush too aggressively or if your toothbrush isn’t soft enough. However, if your gums bleed very easily and frequently, it may be a sign of gum disease.

Gingivitis, or gum disease, refers to an inflammation of the gums. It commonly occurs when plaque or bacteria accumulates on the teeth, causing symptoms like puffy, swollen, or tender gums. Although gingivitis is considered a non-destructive form of periodontal disease, the condition can progress to periodontitis if left untreated.

Good oral health is the key to preventing gum disease. Along with better brushing habits, daily flossing is an effective way to ward off gum disease. It is normal to notice more bleeding when you begin a new flossing regimen but the bleeding should subside once you start to floss more regularly.

Daily flossing helps to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth. When you fail to floss, food particles and plaque combine with bacteria, causing inflammation and bleeding. With a proper brushing and flossing routine, you can stop bleeding gums.

How to Use Dental Floss

While using dental floss might seem straightforward, not everyone flosses correctly or effectively. Some people don’t floss at all. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that analyzed how many people floss their teeth, 37 percent reported that they floss less than daily and 32 percent reported that they never floss.

The American Dental Association recommends that people brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss between teeth at least once a day. Some people prefer to floss following a midday meal, while others choose to floss before bed. While you really can’t floss too much, you can floss incorrectly which can cause damage to the teeth and gums.

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association outlines the proper flossing technique:

1. Cut off 18 inches of floss and wind it around the index or middle finger on each hand. It is important to have enough floss to allow you to clean between each tooth using clean segments of the floss. Pinch each side of the floss between the index finger and thumb while leaving a one- to two-inch length of floss at all times. Use your thumbs to help direct the floss into the right areas of the mouth.

2. With the section of floss taut between your fingers, guide the floss between the teeth. Begin on the lower arch and make your way to each space. Use a zig-zag motion to get all the way down to the gums. Do not pull too hard as this can cause the floss to snap. Gently contour the floss around each tooth. Create a ‘C’ shape with the floss to help clean the sides of the teeth.

3. Slide the floss up and down against each tooth surface. Do not forget to floss the back side of the teeth. When you move to another tooth, unroll a new section of floss. Continue using your thumb as a guide as you make your way through the bottom arch and then to the top arch.

Some people prefer to use a hand-held flosser rather than traditional dental floss. When using a flosser, hold the handle firmly as you angle the floss towards the area that you want to floss first. Gently guide the floss between two teeth and use the same zig-zag motion mentioned previously. Move the floss along each tooth surface and slide it under the gum line to achieve a proper clean.

Speak with a Melbourne, FL Dentist

If you are experiencing irritation in your mouth, flossing may help. You may also want to book a dental teeth cleaning with your Melbourne, Florida dentist to remove stubborn plaque and tartar buildup. Contact Artistic Touch Dentistry today to schedule an appointment. Our team of experts can help guide you into obtaining a  brighter, healthier smile.