Today, I am going to discuss a few things: 1. how often one should floss, 2. purpose/benefits of flossing, 3. types of floss, 4. proper way to floss, 5. Is it normal to bleed when you floss? 6. Other comments about flossing.
1. How often should I floss? You SHOULD be flossing every single day, if not every other day. The reason why is because it only takes plaque about 24-48 hours to mineralized once oral hygiene is neglected. In other words, you want to get rid of that plaque before it gets hard! (especially if you are eating starchy foods such as crackers, bread, cookies, chips, etc..)
*Plaque = biofilm layer that is formed from bacteria, carbohydrates, and salvia. Plaque is soft/slimy, and it sometimes can be invisible to the eye.
*Calculus (aka tartar)= mineralized plaque/biofilm that can be found above and or below the gums. Calculus irritates the gums causing inflammation, bone loss, and bleeding.
2. What is the purpose and benefits of flossing? The purpose and benefits of flossing is to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and other possible dental problems. Having plaque, calculus, or food sit in between your teeth will definitely cause an odor and irritation to the gums. Irritation to the gums may result in bleeding, redness, and sometimes puffiness.
3. What type of floss or products that could be used in between the teeth? Aside from floss, there are other alternatives such as: interdental brushes, end tuft brushes, tip/wedge stimulators, sticks and picks.
Keys to flossing properly: Hugging the tooth with the flossing (making a C-shape), going up AND down, do NOT go back and forth. ALSO! the closer you hold your string floss, the more control you have.
5. Is it normal to bleed when you floss? Friends! It is okay if you bleed while flossing! I hear it too many times from my patients that they get scared of the blood, so they stop flossing. Please don't stop flossing because of the blood. A few reasons why you are bleeding: 1. YOU do NOT floss enough, 2. there is something stuck in between your teeth (whether it is plaque, calculus, food), 3. possibly the crown or filling you had done is irritating the gums. My motto when it comes to flossing is: The more you floss, the less you will bleed ^_^
6. Other comments about flossing. Floss is inexpensive, small and compact. So you could literrally keep a pack of floss in your car, purse, pocket, work desk, etc..So there should be no excuses as to why you cannot floss.
If you have crowded (misaligned) teeth, bridges, orthodontic wires, or implants, you should be flossing even more.
As much as flossing may be painful, time consuming...just remember that practice makes perfect. So don't give up ^_^ Flossing hurts so good!