Irritated, Bleeding Gums and Flossing

While Urbandictionary may describe floss as “flaunting expensive merchandise such as iced-out Rollies and Gem-encrusted Pimp goblets” we are talking about the kind of floss that goes between your teeth.

Why is it that every time you go to the dentist the first thing that they ask you about is “How have you been doing with flossing?” Before I worked for a Sacramento Dentist  I used to lie and tell them I did it all the time. But guess what, they know that you are lying. They just knowSacramento Dentist.

Your gums are telling an entirely different story than what you are telling your hygienist. They know because you have deep pockets that are forming in between your gums and teeth.

They know because your bleeding gums aren’t getting any better. They know because your irritated gums are puffy.

Most people do brush their teeth twice a day and think that because they do that then flossing isn’t necessary. But that’s false. Do you notice that you have redness or bleeding gums when brushing, frequent gum swelling, bad breath, or loose teeth? Then you have a gum problem.

The quickest fix to your gum problems is to start flossing immediately. There is a chance that it may be painful and that bleeding will occur, that’s okay. The food and gunk between your gums and teeth has to be cleaned out somehow and it sure isn’t going to happen just from brushing.

However, when you are brushing, angle your tooth brush at a 45 degree angle, that way you can maximize the use of your brushing and you will be able to get under the gum line a little bit. Again, this does not replace brushing.

 

Frequently pondered, but not always asked, questions:

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The probing instruments that hygienists and dentists use to determine pocket depth. Healthy gums measure under 3 mm.

  • What do all the numbers mean? Your teeth are numbered, unless you are a kid in which case they are lettered, and often times they aren’t referred to as “the molar on the top left” but instead as “You need a filling on #14.” In addition to that the hygienist probes, or inspects, the soft gum tissues around the teeth. The hygienist uses a periodontal probe that is used to measure the depths of pockets around the tooth to identify the state of health of your gums. The numbers correlate to how deep the probe goes down into the gums by the millimeter. The smaller the number, the better.
  • What is a pocket? Flossing is the most effective tool for cleaning the tight spaces between your teeth. The floss scrapes up and down each tooth picking up clinging bacteria and food particles. Pockets indicate the presence of abnormal spaces between the tooth and the gums.  When the pockets form a crevice, or space, is created where fluids, food debris, and bacteria float around.  The depth of the pocket is constantly trying to fight off what has gotten trapped in there.

The next steps for you is to begin flossing immediately. There are lots of YouTube videos that can show you how to floss if you aren’t sure if you are doing it properly. Do it twice a day, religiously. And if you aren’t flossing well just tell your hygienist your concerns at your next appointment. She can show you what is going on in your mouth and how it will reduce gum irritation and bleeding gums.

Happy Flossing!