Reduce Pain From Flossing | Airport Road Dental Associates, PC
Flossing is a dentist-prescribed necessity, but many dental patients struggle with it. Not only can string floss be unwieldy, but the action of forcing it between your teeth may cause pain in some people. Here are some options to help you reduce pain and irritation as you develop a regular flossing regimen.
1. Sensitive Toothpaste
If you floss thoroughly, the floss can sometimes irritate sensitive gums and even sensitive teeth as you clean around the tooth roots at the gumline. Brushing with a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help lessen any soreness and irritation from both brushing and flossing.
If you use prescription strength toothpaste, talk to your dentist about switching to a sensitive version of your prescription toothpaste, such as one that contains potassium nitrate. You can also find non-prescription toothpastes that contain potassium nitrate for sensitive teeth. This ingredient helps to block nerve signals that would send pain transmissions to your brain.
2. Water Flosser
A water flosser can be a gentle way to ease into a flossing habit. Although it doesn't clean using the same modality as floss (string floss scrapes away plaque, while a water flosser simply sprays it away), a water flosser can still help reduce plaque. This can help reduce gum irritation, since plaque buildup irritates gums. Cleaner gums are less likely to be irritated and painful.
Another reason a water flosser can help is because it helps to prepare your gums for regular flossing. While flossing may be too stimulating at first for gums that aren't used to it, water flossing can help to gently massage gums, improving gum health. Healthier gums could be less likely to bleed and become inflamed when you use string floss.
3. Other Flossing Tools
In some situations, you may have pain and irritation from flossing because of the logistical issues involved. For instance, some people have difficulty controlling a piece of floss well enough to floss thoroughly yet gently. A flossing tool, such as a floss pick, can help you to get into tight spots more easily while requiring less physical dexterity.
You can also choose a floss tool designed for tight spots or sensitive gums. Gentle varieties of floss pick and easy-glide varieties are available in addition to standard floss picks.
Although changing your diet won't solve all your flossing problems, it could help in some cases. For instance, take a look at your current diet. If you eat a lot of sugar and starchy foods, consider cutting down on these foods while you work on your flossing habit.
Sugar and simple starches feed bacteria, which then create plaque and tartar. Plaque and tartar can irritate your gums. So reducing the buildup of plaque and tartar in the first place can help reduce gum irritation. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any changes to your diet that you may be considering.
These are just some examples of how you can strategically manage your flossing so that it won't hurt as much. This is especially important while you're forming the habit of flossing. After all, if flossing hurts a lot each time you do it, that's a strong psychological deterrent, and pain can make it more difficult to form good flossing habits.
For more information about flossing and dental hygiene or to schedule an appointment, get in touch with Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, today. We'll be glad to help you customize your dental care for sensitive gums so you can protect your gums from disease without causing yourself pain.