August 25, 2015
Greetings Belleville! Welcome back to the ongoing dental health blog from the office of Thomas J. Feder, DDS, PC. In our last two blog posts, we’ve looked at some of the very diseases that can develop in your mouth.
Today, we are going to look at a preventive approach for many problems you could have with your teeth. Flossing is vital to maintain your oral health, and prevent gum disease. But many of our patients have a host of questions about flossing, and we’d like to address those today.
Is it Normal for Flossing to be Painful?
No. Painful or irritated gums could be caused by improper technique, such as flossing too roughly. It can also been a sign of gum disease; if you’re gums repeatedly bleed or are sensitive to contact, you should get screened for gum disease.
If it has been a long-time since you flossed your teeth, some pain or bleeding could be normal right at first. Any pain you have from it should go away within a week or two of regular flossing. If it continues after that point, you should contact our office.
Do I Need to Floss If There’s No Food Between My Teeth?
Yes. Flossing is important to remove food stuck in between your teeth. However, that is far from it’s only purpose.
Acidic plaque can quickly build-up on your teeth; this plaque is caused by bacteria from the food you eat. If this plaque is not removed, it can dissolve holes into the enamel of your teeth. This can lead to painful cavities, gum disease, and expensive dental work.
When Should I Floss?
It’s perfectly okay to floss after you brush your teeth. It’s also perfectly okay to floss before you brush your teeth. About half of our patients floss before brushing, and the other half floss after brushing.
The trick is really just to make sure that you do it. The American Dental Association recommends that you floss at least once a day. If you’re tired at night, you can always brush first thing in the morning. Or after a meal. Anytime is the right time to floss.
Our recommendation is just to make a routine out of it. It’s hard for many people to begin a flossing regime; if you have children, consider brushing at the same time they do. You can make a game out of it, perhaps with a sticker chart or something like that.
What Kind of Floss Should I Use?
The most important is that you find a floss that you feel comfortable using. Flossing should not hurt, or cause you to bleed. The three most common varieties of floss are waxed, unwaxed, or comfort floss. If the floss you are using irritates your gums, try switching to a different type.
There are also several good alternatives to the traditional box of floss. Floss picks with toothbrush-like handles are easy to use, and can speed-up the flossing process. Water flosser are also a great choice, although they can tend to be a bit expensive. Water flossers prevent much of the irritation caused by traditional floss; look for a product with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance if you’re unsure which brand to purchase.
If I Brush and Floss Everyday Will Avoid Cavities?
Brushing your teeth and flossing everyday is a great way to avoid cavities; however cavities can still develop even with excellent oral health habits. You may not even notice a cavity while it’s in its earlier stages of decay.
Certain deposits of plaque and build-ups of dental-tartar cannot be removed by just brushing and flossing. For that you need a professional cleaning. We recommend having your teeth cleaned every six months to ensure you stay cavity-free. Click here to make an appointment at the office of Thomas J. Feder, DDS, PC in Belleville, IL.