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Hygiene practices like teeth brushing and flossing have become the backbone of good oral health. When done incorrectly, however, flossing may damage the gums and expose the root of teeth. Three common mistakes may hinder efforts to improve oral health by causing lasting issues in the oral cavity.
The importance of flossing has become a widely accepted health dogma.
It is understood to help stave off conditions like gingivitis and tooth loss, which are precursors for other serious health complications.
Issues linked to inflammation of the gums include lung disease, heart disease and stroke, to name a few.
Health coach and author Susan Saunders, explained: “Untreated periodontitis can cause dental issues from bad breath to bleeding and lost teeth.
“It’s linked to increased dementia risk as inflammation can travel from the mouth to the brain. And now it seems it can also travel to the heart.”
In addition to toothbrushing, flossing can prevent these issues by removing inflammatory bacteria lodged between the teeth.
This may be an essential action in oral healthcare, but it is crucial to take care when flossing.
A common mistake dentistry clinics caution against is putting too much physical pressure on the gums with the floss.
Milner Dentistry explains: “There is no need to pull the floss at the level of your gum tissue. If your gums aren’t healthy, they may bleed, or you can experience pain.
“If you regularly put pressure on your gums with floss, you could create lasting damage in the tissue in the form of a furrow or cleft. Don’t risk it.”
Flossing more than once a day may also cause serious damage to the gum tissue if done improperly.
This is partly because flossing becomes particularly harmful when the line exposes more of the tooth’s root.
“You only need to floss once per day and flossing more often than that can sometimes do more harm than food,” explains Milner Dentistry.
“Because your gums are sensitive, flossing too frequently can irritate that tissue and, in some cases damage it.”
Bleeding of the gums is another frequently encountered hurdle in flossing, but it shouldn’t deter anyone from continuing.
Animated Teeth suggests bleeding gums may be “an indication that the area can’t be or hasn’t been cleansed effectively”.
Often bleeding gums are a sign of gum tissue inflammation secondary to gingivitis, a condition that is reversible with a good dental cleaning.
On the other hand, gum bleeding could be indicative of periodontitis, which is unlikely to resolve without professional intervention.
Animated Teeth explains: “With either scenario, continued flossing, as opposed to discontinuing your routine because it makes your gums bleed, is a big part of the solution.”
Saunders added: “Make dental hygiene a priority with two minutes of brushing, followed by flossing or dental sticks and regular trips to your dentist to […] protect heart health.”
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