What’s the first question you are asked at a dentist’s appointment? Chances are, it’s something about the frequency of your flossing. Most of us don’t floss enough. However, did you know you could be doing it too much?
Flossing is an extremely important part of your oral care routine. It helps to prevent gum disease by keeping your teeth healthy and free of plaque. Proper flossing also “roughs up” your gums and makes them stronger. It is possible to have too much of a good thing, though.
Optimal Flossing Frequency: How Much is Too Much?
Flossing once a day is all it takes. Bacterial colonies that create plaque take around 24 hours to form completely. Flossing more than once per day has no real benefits unless there is something stuck between your teeth.
Over-Flossing: Causing Damage to Your Gums and Teeth
If you floss more than once per day, it can cause serious damage to the gum tissue. It’s not just how often you floss that causes damage, though. Flossing too vigorously or applying too much pressure on the gums can cause the gums to bleed. Eventually, over-flossing can destroy the gum line. This exposes more of the teeth’s root, which eventually causes decay and cavities.
Many overzealous flossers use a saw-like motion in an attempt to get their teeth as clean as possible. This has the potential to wear through the tooth’s enamel and in extreme cases can result in periodontal bone loss. This causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.
If you are concerned that your flossing technique is not up to par, ask your dentist to demonstrate at your next office visit.
Dr. Medina is a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Advanced General Dentistry, with a practice in Las Vegas Nevada since 1988. He offers general and family dentistry, with a specialization in cosmetic and restorative dental services.