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Common Flossing Mistakes

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More Videos from Dr. Erik Svans 12 videos in this series

Dr. Svans shares some common flossing mistakes.

Dr. Svans:
The biggest mistakes that people make with flossing is that they don’t floss.

A majority of our patients come in and always say, “Oh yeah, I haven’t been flossing that well. I am not flossing at all.”

And the truth be told, I would say probably 95 percent of the population struggles with flossing.

It’s something you need to do once a day. It is a very hard habit to pick up, but once you pick it up it should take about two or three minutes.

It really cleans that 40 percent of the tooth that your toothbrush is not cleaning. It gets that part clean and that’s where all the problems start anyway.

If you notice that when your gums are bleeding you will always notice that it’s between two teeth. That’s where the floss is going to do its cleaning.

So number one, people are not flossing at all. When they are flossing they are typically doing a pretty good job, but it’s just that you need to take that floss and wrap it around the tooth and kind of almost brush the side of the tooth in between on both teeth as you go in between them and kind of brush.

And almost bring that up because you are trying to mechanically remove the plaque buildup which is the bacteria around the tooth.

So you are trying to bring that up out of that pocket so that when you rinse or brush after, that area gets cleaned out.

But that’s really the one thing that we help people with that are flossing is to really wrap the floss around the tooth and almost brush the side of the tooth as they are doing that.

Another mistake that people make when they are flossing is they just slide the floss straight down and almost traumatize their gums.

Actually we’ll see that they have almost a crease in their gums from just going down, pulling down and then pulling back up.

So instead of that you want to go ahead and wrap and go up and down and not just feel like you need to slide down, be really rough.

It shouldn’t be a rough movement. It should be nice and gentle down and slide and slide and then come back up.

A third problem that I see with people with floss a lot of times is that they feel that if they’ve had a crown or some sort of major dental work in there they feel that they don’t need to floss those areas.

To be honest, underneath those areas it’s even more important to floss there because underneath crowns you still have your natural tooth.

And you need to keep that junction where the crown and the tooth meet impeccably clean to make that crown last as long as it possibly can.

So really because you have dental work in there it’s even more of a reason to get in there and floss daily.

About Dr. Svans:
Dr. Erik Svans, D.D.S., is a 1997 graduate of the University of the Pacific Dental School in San Francisco. He is an active member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), American Dental Association (ADA), Arizona Dental Association (AZDA), Dental organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS), World Clinical Laser Institute (WCLI) and a graduate of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI) and affiliated with the International College of Implantologists (ICOI). Dr. Svans specializes in Smile Design and Reconstruction, Dental Implants CEREC, Laser Dentistry, Teeth Whitening, Invisalign, and Dental Technology Advancements.

Visit Dr. Svans at his website

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EmpowHER Guest

If you haven't tried water flossing then that is definitely the way to go. It is painless and effective and removes any food debris left behind by brushing. There is a good review of the water flosser I use at www.waterpikultrawaterflosser.com. Really is worth a try. It is good for children as well as it has different water pressure settings to suit each child’s age.

August 2, 2010 - 3:25pm
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