Some dentists tend to treat flossing as a one-size-fits-all option. While flossing may do a great job of keeping your teeth clean, some people have adverse reactions to flossing or need to use a brand free of substances that create problems for them. And many people have trouble remembering to floss or finding the motivation to do so every day. You may need an approach specific to you and your mouth.
Here are some steps to take to find the right flossing option for you.
Try Sensitive Floss
Some dental floss styles are simply are harsher on your gums and teeth than others. Trying a gentle dental floss that’s designed not to make your gums bleed is the first line of attack when you’re wondering why flossing doesn’t work for you.
If you have the manual dexterity needed for flossing but find that your gums don’t react well, a sensitive floss may be what you need.
Many dental flosses are made of nylon, but some are made of silk or bamboo or even other plant fibers. And coatings may contain bee products, flavor additives, or other substances that may cause allergic reactions in some. If you suspect this is happening to you, talk to your dentist or doctor about the possibility of an allergic reaction.
You can also try switching to an uncoated floss or using interdental brushes for a couple of months to see if that helps.
Start With Water Flossing
If you’ve never built up a regular flossing habit because it always turns into a bloodbath from which your gums don’t recover before the next day, perhaps your gums are irritated. Keeping them clean will help them become less sensitive. However, this advice may seem like catch-22 because flossing itself can help you keep your teeth clean.
One solution is using a water flosser to help clean along the gumline. Water flossers have been shown to reduce gum sensitivity and bleeding, which means that after you’ve used the water flosser for a while, your gums may not mind the flossing as much. So try working up to actual floss after you’ve gotten into the habit of water flossing every day.
Look Into Flossing Tools
In addition to interdental brushes and water flossers, several other types of flossing tools are on the market to help you clean between your teeth if dexterity is an issue. Floss picks are considered slightly inferior to string floss because they don’t allow the floss to hug the side of your tooth as well, but they’re still better than nothing. Or you could try a floss holder.
Use an Electric Toothbrush
It takes much less effort on your part to clean your teeth with an electric toothbrush because you don’t have to use a back-and-forth brushing motion. This may help to conserve your energy and time so that you can manage to floss more often now that you’re not putting all that energy into brushing.
Another benefit is that some electric toothbrushes are designed to clean along your gumline and in the cracks between your teeth better, so there’s not as much plaque left for your floss to clean out. This innovation could mean less time spent on flossing, or it could mean that you can make do with just a floss pick.
These steps can help you work up to a flossing habit, eliminate products that you could be sensitive to, or find alternatives to assist you with dexterity issues. Remember, daily oral hygiene habits are your first line of defense against cavities and gum disease. And professional dental visits are only periodic, rather than daily, but they’re just as important.
To schedule a professional dental cleaning or other dental services, contact the office of Kenneth Schweizer, DDS, PA, today.