Dr. Washburn – and indeed, all dentists – agree that flossing regularly is important for your teeth. It removes food that gets caught in between teeth and helps promote gum health. Yet it is an all too common experience for people that floss their teeth for the first time to feel that the process is painful. They may even have a lasting ache and bleeding gums.
This pain makes the thought of flossing again unpleasant, and is the reason many patients put away the floss until they notice something stuck in their teeth. Flossing shouldn’t be painful when done correctly, however, and there are methods to help you deal with the pain so you can incorporate this habit into your daily routine.
Getting Rid of Flossing Pain
The secret to eliminating pain when flossing is to floss more. When we think about the cause of this pain, it makes sense why flossing can be painful the first few times.
Bacteria and plaque collect along your gums. If you haven’t flossed in a while, there can be a significant buildup of plaque between your teeth. This causes your gums to swell and become sensitive. When you first bring floss in contact with your gums, they are likely tender and will hurt. But as you floss regularly – once per day – the swelling recedes and you should be able to floss without so much sensitivity.
Using the Correct Flossing Technique
Whether you’ve been flossing for a while or are just starting to get into the habit, make sure you are using the right technique as the wrong methods can also contribute to your gum pain. Each time you floss, you should:
- Use Floss – This may seem self explanatory, but many people try to get into the spaces between their teeth with objects like toothpicks, forks, or their fingernails. Only use floss to clean your teeth. Other items can spread bacteria or damage your teeth, resulting in more pain.
- Floss Gently – Avoid snapping the floss down onto your gums. Instead, gently work the floss between your teeth and use care when moving the floss across your gums.
- Take Your Time – Particularly in the beginning, taking your time will help you be gentle and ensure you’re getting between every tooth so there isn’t any lingering tenderness. At the same time, do not spend too much time on each tooth. A few back and forth motions of the floss is enough.
As you get used to flossing and use the proper technique, your pain should go away and you’ll be left with a healthier mouth. Those who experience pain while flossing regularly and correctly should consult their dentist.At Romie Lane Dentist, we can identify if the pain is coming from another source, like gum disease or tooth decay. We also help you work on your flossing technique so that you can feel confident you are taking the best possible care of your teeth. Schedule your appointment today. [email protected] or 831-758-0959