When it comes to a quality dental hygiene routine, the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing at least once a day.
But what if you want to floss more than once a day? Can you floss too much? The fact is, if you are flossing correctly, you should be able to floss as often as you like. However, most people are not flossing the way they should, and this can cause damage if they floss too often.
Here we highlight the signs of too much incorrect flossing and explain why you really don’t always need to floss more than once a day.
- Flossing more than once a day is okay with proper technique
- Signs of too much flossing: sore gums, gum recession, irritated or bleeding gums
- Common flossing mistakes: rough flossing, wrong floss type, flossing after brushing, flossing gums instead of teeth, using same floss section for all teeth
- Create a good oral hygiene routine: brush twice a day, floss correctly once a day, and get regular dental cleanings
- Consult a dental professional to learn proper flossing techniques and maintain optimal oral health
Is flossing multiple times a day okay?
Flossing multiple times a day can be beneficial, especially if you routinely experience foods getting stuck in your teeth. Proper flossing can help remove these trapped food particles, eliminating discomfort and reducing the risk of plaque buildup as the oral bacteria in your mouth feed on the food particles. Anytime you get food stuck in your teeth, flossing is often the best method of removing it. This means it may be necessary to floss after every meal or snack as long as you are using the right technique. This should not be a problem at all.
For general plaque buildup and the need to floss the spaces between teeth, plaque takes 24 to 48 hours before it will begin hardening into tartar. Because of this, flossing once during a 24-hour period is all that is really necessary for preventative dental care.
How do you know if you’re flossing too much?
Flossing too often with the wrong technique can lead to gum damage and irritation, which, in turn, can actually create more dental concerns, such as tooth decay and gum disease. These signs may indicate that your flossing technique needs improvement, and you should limit flossing to once a day until you are able to take to your dentist about better flossing technique options.
1. Gums are sore after flossing.
If your flossing technique applies too much pressure on or near the gum line, this pressure can cause pain and swelling in the gums. Flossing with this technique can actually be worse than not flossing at all as it can lead to changes in the gumline over time.
2. You are causing gum recession.
Too much flossing with increased pressure can cause the gums to recede, making your teeth appear longer and creating a gap where bacteria can enter and cause tooth decay and gingivitis or gum disease.
3. Gum irritation or bleeding gums
Too much brushing and flossing when you have sensitive gums can contribute to irritation, redness, bleeding, and swelling. If you experience any of these symptoms, it may be time to talk with your dentist about adjusting your oral hygiene routine.
Common flossing mistakes
When it comes to flossing, there are many common mistakes that often occur that can lead to gum irritation and damage. Flossing multiple times a day with these improper techniques can actually counteract the benefits you are hoping to achieve with flossing.
Flossing with too much force can damage your gums and can cause what is known as a gingival cleft, or a fissure in the gum tissue. Too much pressure or the use of a sawing motion when flossing can cause excessive friction on the surface of the tooth and can break down the enamel, leaving the tooth open to additional dental decay. When trying to get the floss between two tightly placed teeth, do not try and force the floss downward, as this can result in a rapid drop into the gum line. Instead, use a back-and-forth motion while applying gentle downward pressure to work the floss between the teeth.
Choosing the wrong type of floss
Not all floss is created equally, and it is important that you choose the right floss for your teeth. Floss types depend on the amount of space you have between the teeth. For example, waxed floss is best for those with tight spaces, while the dental tape is better for those with large gaps between teeth.
Flossing after brushing
Now, this is a highly debated topic, and many will argue the benefits of both ways. However, a 2018 study showed that flossing before brushing provided better results when it came to reducing interdental plaque. However, flossing with the correct technique before or after brushing is better than not flossing at all.
Flossing the gums instead of the teeth
The goal of flossing is to remove the plaque off the surface of the side of the tooth in hard-to-reach crevices while also moving plaque away from the gums. When flossing near the gum line, always use a motion that draws away from the gums. Moving toward the gumline can actually push plaque into and underneath the gumline.
Using the same floss for every tooth
If you are using the same piece and section of floss for every tooth, then instead of removing plaque and bacteria, you end up spreading the bacteria from one area of your mouth to another. Instead, you want to use a different segment of your floss for each segment.
Creating a quality oral hygiene routine at home
Creating a comprehensive oral hygiene routine that includes brushing your teeth twice a day, learning how to properly floss your teeth at least once a day, and getting a dental cleaning every six months helps to maintain good oral health. Learning the proper techniques when it comes to flossing allows you the ability to floss multiple times a day if you need to remove trapped food particles.
Helping you achieve optimal oral health
At New Leaf Rohnert Park, our team of dental professionals and hygienists strives to help you achieve optimal dental health. This begins by ensuring your oral hygiene routine is in top shape. Learning how to properly floss your teeth is essential, and our team members are able to work with you to develop methods that really work to achieve your goals and provide the best benefits.
Click here to learn more about our preventative dentistry and how it can help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful.