Top Mistakes Made When Flossing Your Teeth

While flossing your teeth is still important, many people skip this essential part of their oral care routine.

Flossing helps remove plaque and bacteria from the spaces in between your teeth that are impossible to reach with your toothbrush. Flossing can help prevent decay, gum disease, and bad breath that can come when food particles and bacteria aren’t removed from the oral cavity.

Unfortunately, many people make mistakes when conducting their flossing routine. Do you make these top mistakes when flossing your teeth?

Not Flossing All the Teeth

You’re going to want to floss between every set of teeth that touch. Although some teeth create space that can be difficult to get into with floss, it’s important that you floss between all your teeth.

Some people neglect to floss between teeth that are difficult to access, such as teeth in the back of their mouth or teeth that are too close together. Don’t make this mistake when flossing your teeth!

Not Using Enough Floss

Another common mistake people make is not using enough floss. You shouldn’t be using the same section of floss to get between every set of teeth; it should be a clean section of floss every time.

The American Dental Association recommends using at least 18 inches of floss for each time you floss your teeth [1]. This may sound like a lot of floss, but using a clean new section for every set of teeth is going to get the job done properly!

Being Too Aggressive

Being too aggressive when flossing your teeth can be painful and cause your gums to bleed. If you haven’t flossed in a while, your gums may bleed or feel sore after that first flossing session, but don’t let this discourage you from continuing to floss.

However, if your gums continue to bleed as you floss every day, this could be a sign that you’re either flossing too harshly or have gum disease. If you’re flossing too aggressively, you can actually cause gum damage including gum recession, so be gentle.

Not Actually Flossing the Teeth

When some people floss, they pull the floss down between their teeth and don’t actually  floss the sides of their teeth. You need to actually floss both sides of your teeth, which is the whole point of flossing.

Don’t simply pull the floss in and out between your teeth and call it a day.

If you’re having trouble flossing or getting the floss in between your teeth to floss the sides, you may consider using interdental cleaners which can make flossing easier, especially for people who have oral appliances such as braces [2].

Not Flossing Often Enough

If you’re not flossing once a day, you’re not flossing often enough. It doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing, as long as you do it! It’s important that you don’t just floss when you have something stuck in your teeth, although this is a good time to floss too [3].

Floss once a day at whatever time is best for you. Spending a couple of minutes flossing your teeth every day can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease for a beautiful healthy smile.

The Importance of Flossing

Do you make any of the above mistakes when flossing? A good flossing routine can help keep your entire smile clean and healthy. Be sure to follow up with your dentist if you have any questions regarding your flossing routine during your checkup!