Flossing can seem like a chore, but the link between flossing and bleeding gums is clear. Sometimes, when you floss, you might occasionally find it causes your gums to bleed. That does not mean that flossing is bad for you — but you may not be doing it properly. Frequent flossing is the solution to the irritation that occasional flossing causes.
Why flossing can cause bleeding gums
There is a correct way and an incorrect way to floss. Many people do not know that. Using the right flossing technique is an effective way to remove food particles and buildup between teeth. People flossing at home should be careful not to force the floss into the gums. A dentist can floss patients at the office and then show proper flossing technique for at home.
The biggest reason why flossing causes bleeding gums is that people do not floss often enough. Dentists recommend people floss daily for optimal results. This keeps the spaces between teeth clear of debris that can promote bacterial growth and irritate the gums. Waiting too long between flossing creates the conditions for bacterial growth. When bacteria grow long enough, the acid that the bacteria produce promotes cavity development. Developing a regular routine is key to flossing success.
Reducing and eliminating bleeding gums
With regular flossing and proper technique, people can actually reduce or eliminate the problem of bleeding gums. Healthy gums do not usually bleed when a person is flossing correctly. There are many types of floss available for people to use. Dental tape is a wider floss that can be very effective for wider-spaced teeth and for bridgework. Waxed dental floss can slip between closely spaced teeth more easily.
Many people do not like flossing manually or prefer to use a mechanical tool. Also known as electrical flossers, these tools can use air or water to get into the spaces between teeth. Many people with braces or dental work have difficulty using string floss. They prefer mechanical flossing. Mechanical flossing is better than nothing. But most dentists agree that manual flossing is the most effective way to remove plaque and debris.
Dentists prefer using string floss or tape to help prevent bleeding gums. A person holds a piece of string floss between the fingers to create tension and slides it between the teeth. Manual flossing is effective at removing stuck debris and plaque between teeth. Flossing at least once a day keeps those tight areas clean. This reduces the ability of bacteria to grow. Less bacterial growth means fewer cavities and healthier gums.
There are many types of manual floss on the market. Waxed floss slides between tight spaces better. Unwaxed floss will make a squeaking sound when the area between two teeth is clean. Some people have wider than normal gaps between the teeth. Wider dental tape can be more effective than normal thin floss. Sometimes, the floss is mint- or cinnamon-flavored to aid in fresher breath.
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Find out how to embrace flossing
If you do not like to floss, you are not alone. But dentists know that regular flossing done right can reduce or eliminate the symptom of bleeding gums. It is important to tell your dentist how often you floss. Talk with your dentist today about how to build this healthy habit.
Request an appointment or call Peoria Family Dentistry at 623-552-4665 for an appointment in our Peoria office.