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How to Floss Properly to Avoid Gum Disease Advancement

Posted on 12/20/2016 by Doctor Southard
A woman flossing her teeth incorrectly.
Gum disease starts small, so small in fact that you might not even notice it. The first symptoms include inflammation and redness of your gums. If left unnoticed, it only gets worse. Your gums begin to recede, exposing more of your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay.

The infection spreads into your jaw, making the bone weak, leading to loose teeth that can fall out. The infection can even spread into the bloodstream and throughout the body.

How Floss Helps

The bacteria that cause gum disease, feast on food particles that are left behind on your teeth and in your mouth after eating. Bacteria produce the acids that eat away at your teeth, which causes tooth decay.

Brushing removes these food particles, and any existing bacteria, from the surface of your teeth. Food particles can easily get lodged between your teeth, though, and a regular toothbrush cannot reach these areas. This is where flossing comes in, getting all of the hard to reach places between teeth and below the gum line.

Types of Floss

There are a few different types of floss, and may make the difference in your oral health. Nylon floss is made of multiple strands. It has a tendency to shred easily. This type is available in unwaxed or waxed, the latter being easier to work with.

PTFE floss is a single strand that fits easier between teeth, including tighter spaces. It typically costs more than nylon. Superfloss is designed to aid in cleaning out wider gaps, and is also recommended for those with braces or other dental devices. There are also floss picks, which are small, pre-threaded plastic picks. They aid greatly in reaching the very back teeth.

Start with approximately 18 inches of floss wound around your middle fingers, leaving about one to two inches between your two fingers, or your floss pick. Then slide the floss between each tooth, gently gliding it against each side. Make sure to go down around each tooth under the gum line. You should even be sure to get the outside of each back tooth.

Always be certain to go gently, and don't force the floss in any way. This could cause harm to your gums, even making them bleed. These open lacerations could allow bacteria into the gums, aiding in the progression of gum disease rather than preventing it.

Proper flossing is crucial to preventing the progression of gum disease. It doesn't matter where you start, as long as you get between each and every tooth. Be sure to floss at least once a day, although the more frequently you floss, the better the results. And, no matter how often you brush and floss, make sure to visit the dentist at least twice a year.

Please contact us if you have any questions about gum disease and flossing.

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Steven Southard DDS, MS
Midwest Periodontics
1006 W St Maartens Dr, Suite A
St Joseph, MO 64506

(816) 207-4005

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Midwest Periodontics, 1006 W St Maartens Dr, St Joseph, MO, 64506-2967 - Tags: Periodontist St Joseph MO• Dental Implants St Joseph MO• (816) 207-4005•• 12/11/2017