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Here's my version: I had always flossed by "sawing" the floss between the teeth and down to the gum and back up. I did this rather aggressively and ended up doing some damage that had to be repaired by a periodontist. (Not fun, by the way.)

His solution for future flossing: never use the sawing motion (back-and-forth) - only use up and down motions. Apply pressure to the TOOTH so that the floss makes a noticable noise: this means that you are getting the grit off your teeth. Also, do not use thumbs, because you can end up applying too much pressure.

It's probably best to check out a dental hygiene website, or ask your dentist.

use woven floss

Jodi Bromberg

My dad (the dentist) swears by Glide, which is a dental tape, not floss -- easier on the gums, and easier to floss with. At the very least, use waxed floss. Don't "snap" the floss (i.e., jam it down into your gums). Be gentle.

Jodi Bromberg

My dad (the dentist) swears by Glide, which is a dental tape, not floss -- easier on the gums, and easier to floss with. At the very least, use waxed floss. Don't "snap" the floss (i.e., jam it down into your gums). Be gentle.


Again I will promote the hydro floss option in addition to standard flossing. It is a nice compliment to standard flossing and would let you feel you are doing great preventitive gum care and reduce the anxiety over regular flossing.

Using water as the debris remover addresses all sides of the tooth as well. According to my hygienist it is more productive to use the hydrofloss than the "string" varieties so if you have energy for only one...do the hydro. She also takes three gum "health" measurements on both front and back surfaces of each tooth each time I visit so I can see both current and historic progress. She also promotes visits every four months rather than the standard six.

Most importantly,I would use your lawyer's inquisitive mind to question your hygienist. How involved is he/she in current research in the dental hygienist community. Does he/she participate in conferences and further education.

I currently drive an hour and a half to Skowhegan because there is an incredibly well informed dentist there and he supports that same dynamic involvement with conferences and study for his entire staff. I have never felt in better hands.

There is science to back my hygienist's approach to dental and periodontal care. Make sure your dentist and hygienist are serving you in a similar way.

Call your dentist. While I appreciate the fact that you are seeking your readers' opinions. The opinion you need is from a trained professional. Call your dentist. Ask her your questions about gum care. She is the one who knows you and your teeth. She can put you at ease. Besides, she may be paying for her kids college tuition or a new car. Call your dentist.


Bridgeover... is right. Ask your dentist for advice on how to floss correctly, especially the person who flosses your teeth when you're there for an exam and cleaning. Better yet, just copy what that person does.

That said, I suspect if flossing could cause more trouble than it prevents, we'd have heard about it.

When I started regular flossing about 3 years ago, it took a few months before my gums became acclimated and the tenderness and occassional bleeding subsided.

Keep it up. A bit of new floss is a lot cheaper than a root canal and a crown. Hurts less, too.


Oops, just read Jodi's comment about Glide. Yes, yes! They make a few varieties; look for something called Glide Comfort Plus. Good stuff.


To very simply answer the question - yes, you can hurt gums by overflossing. You can also hurt them by brushing too much or too hard - which is pretty difficult to do, but I've seen it done by people who always start brushing in the exact same place, so that one bit of gums gets super brushed, and that can cause problems.
Also: call your dentist. I think that a patient who flosses regularly and is interested in her dental health is exactly the type of good patient he/she'd be very happy to talk with. It's usually the bad/problem patients on the phone most of the time...

dr siles

Flossing is good as long as it is done properly, and over flossing is not advisable, it can cause gum recession. Remember, everything too much is not good.


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"I love my Hummingbird pick and flosser.

However, when I purchased mine about 3 years ago there were 2 different attachments the flosser and a toothpick type that went between the teeth....

I am unable to find the toothpick refills...anywhere CVS, Walmart, Walgreens all do not stock them.

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Flossing anytime of the day is good for it will make your have cleaner and healthier teeth. But my dentist in Greenville once told me that too much or improper flossing can damage your teeth more. It can damage your gum tissue when you applied too much pressure on flossing. My dentist (Greenville) also told me that flossing harshly will also make you have swollen or bleeding gums. Just always keep that in mind that too much is not always good for us.

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