As a dental office, we find that patients don’t always floss as often as they should. Over the years, we’ve uncovered a handful of reasons why people do not floss their teeth. Here are top reasons we have found with tips for why these reasons should not stop you from flossing your teeth.
Food Never Gets Stuck in My Teeth
One excuse we hear frequently for why people do not floss their teeth is that they don’t get food stuck between their teeth. Flossing is not only important for getting food out from between your teeth; you also floss to remove plaque. Plaque is the bacterial film that forms between teeth and at gum line. Daily flossing helps prevent gum disease and tooth loss. Plaque forms on everyone’s teeth and is only removed by flossing or a cleaning from your dentist.
I Do Not Know How to Floss
Sometimes patients do not floss their teeth because they don’t know how. Flossing is a difficult personal grooming activity that takes time to learn but it is one of the most important to help maintain a healthy mouth. The American Dental Association has these tips for flossing:
- Use 18 inches of floss and wrap it around the middle finger of one hand and then the rest around your other middle finger.
- Grasp it tightly between your thumb and forefinger and use a rubbing motion to guide it between your teeth.
- When floss reaches gum line, form a C to follow the shape of the tooth.
- Hold floss firmly against the tooth and move it gently up and down. Repeat the motion with the other tooth and then continue the process with all other teeth.
- Use fresh sections of floss as you go.
- Don’t forget the back of your last molars as most decay occurs in your back teeth.
I Am Not Coordinated Enough to Floss
If you do not floss because have trouble reaching to the back of your mouth, there are other tools you may use. Check with the dentist to see which might work for you.
- Disposable flossers allow you to reach the back teeth easier.
- Small round brushes are available.
- Pointed rubber tips are also available.
- Wooden or plastic picks called interdental cleaners may be used also.
I Do Not Have Time to Floss
The most common excuse for why patients don’t floss their teeth is that they don’t have time. Make flossing a part of your routine when brushing your teeth, ideally both morning and night. If you can’t do it with brushing pick a time that works for you to do it. You do not need to do it in front of a mirror so here are a few other suggestions
- Keep it in your car and use it while stuck in traffic at a red light.
- Keep it in your desk drawer and floss after lunch.
- Most importantly, the key to flossing is making it part of your routine whenever it works for you.
It Hurts When I Floss
If your gums hurt or bleed when you floss, you may have gingivitis or gum disease. This is an even bigger reason for you to floss. Flossing should not be painful and stopping flossing for this reason is opposite of what you should be doing. Brushing and flossing daily for a couple weeks should eliminate the bleeding and painful gums. If it continues, it is time to schedule a dental appointment.
My Teeth are too Close Together.
Try using waxed floss or glide floss for an easier fit. If you have recessed gums, varied gaps between teeth, or braces, try using floss threader or loop for an easier entry point between teeth. If your floss shreds, you may have a cavity or a problem with some dental work, like a broken crown or a loose filling. Call for an appointment and have the dentist look at your teeth.