This is a key question occasionally asked by patients at Mark A. Miely DDS. The answer, however, is “No!” Bleeding is probably a sign that your dental health needs more attention. It is extremely difficult to clean effectively between teeth without using floss or an interdental brush.
If you don’t floss regularly, your gums might bleed from time to time when you do. The bleeding may be due to gum inflammation, the beginnings of gum disease. Keep flossing gently, and after a week or two you probably won’t bleed anymore.
Gingivitis and the more advanced periodontal disease are extremely common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that half of American adults aged 30 and over have periodontal disease. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults.
If you don’t make flossing a habit, and your gums become sore, swollen, and tender, it could lead to gum disease. The good news is that, unlike tooth decay, gum disease can be reversed with improved oral hygiene.
It is essential to correctly use dental floss to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth:
- Cut a length of floss about 18 inches long.
- Securely wind each end around your middle fingers.
- Take hold of the floss with your forefinger and thumb leaving about two inches to work with.
- Thread the floss between two teeth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the side of the tooth and move it up and away from the gumline. You want to clean the space between the tooth and gum without pulling more gum tissue away, so it’s vital to scrape up and out of the pocket.
- Move the floss around the tooth to clean every surface—especially those that your brush can’t reach. As you use a section of floss, unwind from one hand to access a clean piece. With 18 inches, you should have enough to provide a clean section for every tooth. If you run out, that’s okay. Just toss the used piece and cut a new one.
Some people find it easier to start at one end on the upper teeth and clean each gap one by one until they reach the end on the opposite side. Then repeat for the bottom row. Whatever operation you decide on, make sure you clean around every tooth, including the back surfaces of the last molars.
What if you continue flossing for a few weeks and still notice bleeding? Call us. At Mark A. Miely DDS in Upper Arlington, our goal is to help patients maintain healthy teeth and gums. Services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your next cleaning and checkup with us today!
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