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.
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Should I Floss My Teeth: Pros of Flossing
You may have heard the news that dental floss could actually damage teeth and gums. Most people don’t mind brushing their teeth as much but many dislike flossing and this sounds like the perfect excuse you’ve been waiting for to stop flossing! Flossing is a lot of additional work and if it is going to harm your teeth and gums, then why keep doing it? Could brushing really well compensate for not flossing or is there another device that can perform the job of dental floss which is safer as well?
Pros of Flossing
1. Brushing without flossing doesn’t remove all the food and plaque particles. Some people attempt to brush harder or longer to avoid flossing their teeth. This doesn’t work and will end up causing damage to your gums instead. Brushing and flossing each serve their own purpose and their functions do not really overlap much but rather complement each other.
- A toothbrush is designed to clean food and plaque buildup on teeth surfaces and groves
- Dental floss is used to clean buildup material in between the teeth and in areas where the toothbrush can not reach as well
2. Flossing fights off cavities in between your teeth. Cavity bugs have two favorite places they love to gather and start building cavities from.
- The groves located on your back teeth, known as occlusal cavities
- In-between teeth, known as interproximal cavities
Brushing will help prevent the first type of cavities on teeth groves while flossing is more effective in preventing the type of cavities which develop in between the teeth. It is not unusual to run into patients who brush well but don’t floss who end up with multiple cavities all of which are located in-between their teeth. The worse thing about these types of cavities is that they can’t be easily spotted in their early stages without an X-ray. They can creep up on you and become painful without any signs seemingly out of nowhere!
3. Flossing regularly also helps in fighting off gum disease. The same food and plaque particles which build up between your teeth can lead to gum disease as well as cavities. If you do not remove the food and plaque on time it will become calcified, known as tartar or calculus, which is the main cause of gum disease. The most effective way to keep your gums healthy and fight off gum disease is to floss regularly to prevent the formation of these harmful build ups in between your teeth.
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Should I Floss My Teeth: How to Decide