If you are brushing your teeth at least two times a day and are flossing daily, you are on the right track to preserving your oral and dental health. The only problem is, it might not help much if you are not flossing correctly to begin with. There is actually an art to proper flossing that unfortunately many people miss.
Identifying some of the most common flossing mistakes and how to avoid them may help you to take better care of your teeth and avoid cavities, gum disease and other dental health issues.
Mistake #1: Using the Same Section of Floss Throughout
The whole idea of flossing is to remove plaque and harmful bacteria from between your teeth. This isn’t the case if you are using the same section of floss over and over again. All you are doing is removing plaque from one area and depositing it in another.
Solution: Cut a long piece of floss, about 18-inches, and use a clean section for every new area.
Mistake #2: Snapping the Floss into Place
Some teeth are closer together than others and the temptation might be to force or snap the floss into place between the teeth. Forcing the floss nicks your gums causing cuts and injuries. In addition to this, your gum-line may begin to recede or get exposed to gum disease.
Solution: when you come to spaces where teeth are too close together, slide the floss back and forth gently to work it into place.
Mistake #3: Forgetting the Back of the Last Teeth
You may be flossing all your teeth properly but forgetting those at the very back. You may also neglect teeth that have big spaces next to them. Neglecting these areas over time leads to plaque buildup and gum disease and/or cavities soon follow.
Solution: Get the back of the each of the last teeth and the back of teeth with wide open spaces next to them.
Mistake #4: Flossing Once in A While
Flossing isn’t exactly the most mentally stimulating activity you can take part in but regular flossing is mandatory if you want to maintain good oral hygiene. The plaque builds in the course of a few hours so flossing once a week or once in two weeks may not be doing much for your oral health. Accumulated plaque and the bacteria that come with it can also find its way to the blood stream in case you expose your gums while flossing.
Solution: It's ok not to floss once in a while but make it a daily routine. Make it into a ritual and within a few weeks it should be engrained as a habit that you cannot forget or miss.
Mistake #5: Not Paying Attention While Flossing
Lastly, it's easy to lose concentration and daydream your way through the flossing. This makes it likely that you skip one or two teeth.
Solution: Have a clear method as to where you start and stop. Pay attention to the progress you are making so you don’t skip any teeth.
Knowing these common mistakes can help ensure that you don’t make them yourself. Also ask your dentist for any suggestion or flossing tips to ensure that you get the most benefits out of the process.