While growing up, you were most likely taught about the importance of flossing your teeth every day. However, through the years, you may have picked up bad flossing habits that could be doing more harm than good. The next time you floss, check to make sure that you are not making the following mistakes.
Forcing the Floss Down on Your Gums
When you are flossing, pay attention to the way you work the floss between your teeth. One mistake to look for is forcing the floss down on your gums. If you have picked up this bad habit, you may be thinking that flossing this way ensures that you remove all food particles and tartar from between your teeth and gums.
However, the purpose of flossing is to remove food and tartar buildup from the sides of your teeth, not necessarily on the surface of your gums. Just flossing will ensure that your gums stay clean. If you are putting too much pressure on your gum tissue, you risk damaging it, which may cause it to bleed or become infected.
Also, if you find that you push the floss between the gum tissue and the bottom of your teeth, you may be causing permanent damage. While doing this once or twice will not cause a major issue, continuously doing so can pull the gum tissue away from the teeth.
Using the Floss Like a Saw
While you are flossing, also pay attention to the technique you are using. Ideally, you should be gently scraping the floss down one tooth, then pulling up the side of the adjacent tooth.
However, if you are flossing as if you are sawing a log by pulling the string back and forth between your teeth instead of up and down, this type of action will eventually damage your gums. Not only do you risk cutting your gums, especially if you saw vigorously, but you may also create tiny cuts that could lead to infection and gum disease.
Using a sawing motion with the floss when you have any type of implants or other dental work is also a mistake you should avoid. This action with the floss could snag the floss on the implant, cap, or bridge and dislodge it.
Avoiding the above mistakes and ensuring that you are flossing properly can help you keep your teeth and gums healthy. For more information about the proper way to floss, speak with a dentist such as Elizabeth Loseke DDS at your next appointment.