Here's Why Flossing Between Your Teeth Isn't Enough

Flossing at all is something that most dentists celebrate, but if you're going to put the time and effort into something, you ought to do it right. Flossing just between your teeth may not be enough to keep gum disease at bay. Here's what you need to be doing if you want to reap the full benefits of flossing.

What It Does Well

When you floss between your teeth, you're doing something good. Flossing between teeth helps to remove leftover food bits and plaque before it can harden and become tartar. This helps to prevent the enamel on the inside edges of your teeth from wearing down, which can help to prevent cavities. So the good news is, you're still benefitting, even if you're flossing the wrong way. You just might not be getting the absolute full benefits.

What You're Missing

The thing that you're not doing right now is flossing beneath the gumline. This is an integral part of taking care of your teeth and gums.

Plaque doesn't stop when it reaches the gums. Plaque can get under the gumline, as can bacteria. Both of them can cause discomfort, pain, and gum disease. If that plaque is able to harden into tartar, it becomes a serious problem, as only a dentist can break it down and remove it at that point. This is why dentists sometimes need to perform a procedure called gum scaling.

What To Do

If you're not flossing beneath the gumline yet, it's time to start doing it. Thankfully, getting it done is easy, especially if you've already practiced standard flossing.

To floss under your gumline, start by pulling the between two teeth. Pull the floss taut against the edge of one tooth, and then drag it towards the gumline. When you reach the gumline, pull the floss in the same direction a little further. If you use a mirror, you should be able to see the floss dip beneath your gums.

At this point, make a little scooping shape, like a U, and come back up out of the gumline on the neighboring tooth. That's it! You just flossed one of your gums. Keep in mind that you may experience some gum sensitivity or bleeding as you remove the plaque the first few times. However, as you continue to keep your gums clean, you should see your gum health improve.

If you continue to have bleeding from the gums or have any kind of pain, contact a dentist, like John B Webster DDS, for help. This likely means that the neglect your gums have gone through has led to more advanced gum disease that only a dentist can beat.