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Flossing

Have questions about flossing? Our dentists took some time to share information and answer common patient questions to help educate about healthy flossing practices. View the table of contents below to learn more or find your question and get an answer from one of our dentists!

Dr. Mike DesRosiers

 

 

The following content was provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers, LVIF Certified General Dentist, and has been medically reviewed for accuracy. Some relevant links have been added to audio transcripts to provide resources for additional information.

Why do my gums bleed when I floss?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

Dr. DesRosiers: The reason why the gums bleed when you floss is that there are some impurities stuck below the gum that are causing that soft tissue to be inflamed. One of the biggest mistakes is that when people see that, they’ll tend to stop flossing to let that area heal and that’s a huge mistake.

You actually want to make sure to be a little more aggressive in that area, or maybe a little more diligent is a better word. It will bleed for a while, but as you clean that out and condition that tissue, the bleeding will typically stop.

Floss picks versus traditional floss, is one better?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

 
Dr. DesRosiers: That’s really a personal preference. I tend to like traditional floss a little bit better just because it’s a little more maneuverable. Honestly, there are people with dexterity issues and things like that that find the floss picks are better for them. And certainly, if it makes it easier for you to floss or are more likely to floss as often as you should be, I think either way is great, as long as you’re doing something.

If the tissues are staying healthy and things are doing good, then it’s absolutely fine to use those floss picks instead of regular floss. But it’s really just more of a personal preference.

Are Waterpiks better or worse than traditional floss?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

Dr. DesRosiers: I don’t consider Waterpiks a replacement for flossing in any way. They are a great adjunct, it will help clean things out. It will condition the tissue, but you can’t substitute it for flossing in my opinion. It’s a really good thing to add to the repertoire, but it’s not a replacement.

Why do I keep getting food stuck in my teeth?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

 
Dr. DesRosiers: There’s a lot of reasons that you can get food stuck in your teeth. The most common would probably be some sort of a malpositioning. If the tooth is rotated, if the space in between teeth is too large. If your teeth have drifted some and created a space in between them. Or if you have any broken or defective restorations, that certainly will tend to happen.

The other way that that happens in a lot of cases is if you have a dry mouth. And so if your mouth is not producing enough saliva, even if your teeth are perfectly aligned, you’ll tend to have more food impaction around and between your teeth than somebody that doesn’t.

So there’s a lot of reasons why that can happen. And again, I would say if you’re having that problem, just make sure you bring it up to your dentist or your hygienist while you’re having your teeth cleaned, and we’ll be happy to evaluate it, see what’s exactly going on in that specific case.

If I don’t floss the week before or a few days before my dental appointment, will my dentist know?

Answer provided by Dr. Michael DesRosiers. Transcript included below.

Dr. DesRosiers: Yes, you can typically tell who really flosses and who doesn’t. So if you really dial it up for the week before you go, what happens is your teeth may look so much better. There would be still some hard deposits that will tell on you. And more importantly, in a lot of cases, you’ll see the nature of the tissue will be more prone to be inflamed in certain areas, and so you will see a little more bleeding and things like that in folks that don’t floss. Even if you don’t have that, the tissue will appear more irritated than somebody that is a regular flosser.