How to Decide
There is no questions or discussions here; if you have teeth and two hands, you should be flossing your teeth. Only flossing can properly remove food and plaque particles which buildup between your teeth. A toothbrush can not do this well enough and it won’t replace the functions of a dental floss. Buildup of food and plaque between the teeth can lead to cavities and bone loss in the region. The potential to slightly damage your teeth or gums is a far less serious consequence than developing gum disease or cavities and shouldn’t stop you from flossing your teeth regularly.
helpful hint – Bleeding gums are usually one of the earliest signs of gum disease. If you are flossing regularly but your gums are still continuing to bleed, then this may be an indication that something is wrong. You might be flossing incorrectly or you may just be overdue a dental cleaning. Either way, if you are flossing and your gums don’t stop bleeding after a while then you should go and see the dentist to discuss your flossing techniques, receive a dental cleaning and see if you have gum disease or not.
When is flossing your teeth not enough to clean your teeth?
If you have really advanced gum disease, the gaps between the teeth become very large and dental floss alone can not sufficiently clean these gaps. You need to resort to other types of interproximal cleaning instruments such as rubber tip, go-between brush or water-irrigation (waterpik) devices to properly clean these large gaps.
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Should I Floss My Teeth: Pros NOT flossing
1. Argument that flossing may damage the gums. It has not been verified that this is actually true and we haven’t really seen cases of severely damaged teeth or gums because of flossing in our patients. There is the possibility that very aggressive flossing can slightly damage your gums over the years. But even so, we already know that brushing too hard can damage the gums, yet no one is telling you to stop brushing. Any potential minor damages to the gums that result from either brushing or flossing is far better than the risks which arise from neglecting your oral hygiene and waiting for cavities or gum disease to develop.
2. Flossing can be somewhat time consuming. Flossing your teeth correctly takes time. Shortcuts and rushing through it doesn’t work well and will leave food and plaque particles behind. If you’re simply snapping the floss up and down rapidly without hugging and gliding each tooth surface, then you are not flossing well enough. Each and every contact between the teeth needs to be thoroughly flossed separately and carefully. You must pay attention to remove plaque and food particle from both teeth which make up each space. Most dentists recommend flossing at least once a day and many feel that flossing is more important than brushing, particularly as you get older.
3. Flossing is very technique sensitive. The way you floss your teeth makes a big difference in the results you get. To floss correctly you must go in between the teeth, hug each tooth surface, and move the floss up and down throughly to remove all the food and plaque sitting on both the front and the back tooth which compromise the gap. Simply snapping the floss up and down is not enough and you could be wasting your time.
helpful hint – If you have a dental bridge, which is basically several crowns attached together or any other type of splinted crowns, then you can’t place a dental floss in between these crowns as they are attached together. There is a special type of floss such as a superfloss or a floss threader which can be used to pass underneath the bridge to help clean this region.
NEXT >> How to Decide
Should I Floss My Teeth: Pros of Flossing
How to Decide?
Answer the following questions:
- Do your gums bleed occasionally, particularly when you are cleaning them?
- Do you feel a foul taste in your mouth or feel like you suffer from bad breath?
- Do you suffer from sensitive or loose teeth?
- Can you see stains or buildups on your teeth?
- Do you sometimes forget to brush or floss your teeth?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with gum disease before?
- Do you have very crooked teeth that makes it hard to clean them?
- If there a history of tooth loss in your immediate family?
- Has it been over a year since your last dental cleaning?
If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then it’s probably time to see your dentist for a cleaning. You really shouldn’t go more than one year without a dental cleaning, although most dentists recommend every 6 months.
If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then maybe you can wait a few more months. But make sure to discuss with your dentist about how frequently you should present for your dentist cleanings as only your dentist can determine this for you.
The main reason we like you to maintain regular dental cleanings is to avoid developing gum disease and needing deep cleanings. Gum disease can creep on you with little to no symptoms and it may occur at any age. Some people have great teeth but bad gums and they avoid going to the dentist for years. Once they finally do show up for their cleaning they find themselves diagnosed with advanced stages of gum disease. Sometimes it may even be too late and they have to remove multiple teeth.
Don’t forget that gum disease affecting the jawbone is an irreversible condition and once you lose the supporting tissue and bone it can not be regrown. If you have symptoms of gum disease you should run to see your dentist for a cleaning right away. The symptoms may include the following. But even without any obvious symptoms you should still consider getting your gums examined regularly to ensure that you aren’t building up tartar and calculus or developing gum disease.
NEXT >> Brushing vs. Dentist Cleaning: Dental Cleaning
Brushing vs. Dentist Cleaning: Cleaning Your Teeth Yourself