Achieving and maintaining oral health is essential to prevent gum disease and tooth decay from impacting the smile. Part of the process is brushing and flossing as directed by your dentist. While most commit to brushing their teeth every day, many skip one of the most important parts of dental care: flossing. Is flossing necessary? Many patients ask our team if they really need to floss. The answer is always a resounding YES! While skipping a day of flossing won’t completely wreck your oral health, not flossing as part of a regular habit can leave you susceptible to problems such as cavities and periodontal disease. It is the best way to clean between the teeth, which can be challenging to achieve with brushing alone.
How to properly brush and floss
Here are a few tips for brushing and flossing your teeth to achieve better oral health:
• Use a soft-bristled brush to brush firmly but not too hard on the teeth and gums
• Replace your toothbrush often, at least every three months, or if the bristled are frayed or you’ve recently had an illness
• Floss between the teeth at least once a day
• Use the right amount of floss, and change sections as you go to avoid pushing food particles deeper into the gumline
• Use the floss type recommended by your dentist
• Visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and evaluation
• Call the dentist if problems arise, including bleeding gums or pain, for an examination
When I floss, my gums bleed. Should I stop?
If you haven’t been flossing and you start all of a sudden, you may notice that your gums bleed as you perform the process. This is normal. Regular flossing can help toughen up the gum tissues, which will resolve with time. However, if your gums continue to bleed when flossing and even brushing, it may be a sign of gingivitis. Call your dentist for an evaluation just to make sure!
How many floss picks should I use?
If using floss picks, you should always use a new one each time you floss. Don’t reuse a floss pick as this is not sanitary and can add bacteria in the mouth.
How to floss with braces
If you have braces, you may wonder how to floss between your teeth while working around the metal brackets and wires. Your orthodontist or dentist should be able to provide you with a special flossing threader. It allows you to bring floss in-between the wires and the teeth to keep the smile clean. Patients who have other types of orthodontia, such as clear aligner trays, can still floss as they normally do by removing their trays to care for the smile.
What about a water pick?
Another option for patients to consider is that of water picks, which use water to help floss between teeth and help keep the gumlines clean. Water flossers can be used alongside electric toothbrushes to effectively clean the teeth and gums each day with the power of technology. Your dentist may be able to recommend the instruments most appropriate for your needs during your recall appointments.
Call a dentist in Bankers Hill to learn more about oral care Dr. Nidhi Pai, DMD of Del Sur Ranch Dental of San Diego, CA expresses to his patients the importance of brushing their teeth and flossing every day. If you want more information and education on caring for the smile to reduce your risk of disease and decay, we welcome you to book an appointment with our team by calling (858) 759-2700. The office is conveniently located at 16460 Paseo del Sur, Suite #C105.