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Old 08-11-2015, 03:51 PM
 
Location: New Mexico via Ohio via Indiana
1,609 posts, read 1,504,728 times
Reputation: 2551

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Haven't had a dentist's appointment in the last three years....(yeah, I know). And for all that time, I haven't flossed. I'm fifty and I need to.
I hate flossing, but now I see the light.
I've always gone to the dentist, and brush twice daily, etc... but the last three years I have no excuses, I've just been busy and blown it all off.
I guess I'm asking for advice on how to do this without tearing up my non-flossed gums after the long delay, as well as some plaque (from no dentist appointment) below the gumline.
I'm going to the dentist in a month or so and (a) don;t want the flossing lecture; and (b) want to make the visit/scraping/cleaning less painful, and have my gums tougher from a month of flossing.
I've still retained all of my teeth, and nothing hurts now, though starting to bleed after brushing, and have some gums receding just a bit. So I know I need to jump on this. Lesson learned.
Advice?
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Old 08-11-2015, 11:19 PM
 
595 posts, read 2,408,423 times
Reputation: 1214
So this is going to be a bit of double edged sword reply. Yes, floss through the bleeding and pain for the next month and you'll see "less" bleeding.

However, I can guarantee you probably have a bunch of calculus (tartar) buildup just under the gum that will prevent full healing. You will most likely need a professional dental cleaning to really get you back on track. The calculus that builds up on your teeth from lack of flossing and professional cleanings acts like a sponge by holding onto the bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. Gum disease doesn't hurt. Typically the only symptoms people will see is bleeding (this is a sign of infection and is NOT normal, no matter what people try to tell themselves) and gum recession. So don't be surprised if when you go in, they tell you you might need scaling and root planing or a "deep cleaning." If they don't, count your lucky stars and play the lotto.

As to the lecture, I guess I really don't understand how people can brush 2x per day, oil pull for 20 minutes, swish with mouthwash, but god forbid spend that extra 30 seconds pulling a piece of string between their teeth and double god forbid the Hygienist or Dentist "lecture" them about it. It's actually more important to floss sometimes than it is to brush. I equate it to wiping your butt but missing the crack. Same thing. If you hate flossing, look into a waterpik, use floss picks, toothpicks, whatever, but get in between the teeth. The bacteria that live there need to be disrupted and no matter what Sonicare says in their advertisements, the toothpaste is NOT getting in between the teeth.

Sorry for the rant but as a Hygienist, this just baffles me.
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
129 posts, read 251,731 times
Reputation: 119
dont floss. just tell your dr/hygienist that you do.
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Old 08-12-2015, 07:35 AM
 
Location: New Mexico via Ohio via Indiana
1,609 posts, read 1,504,728 times
Reputation: 2551
Quote:
Originally Posted by RDH35 View Post
So don't be surprised if when you go in, they tell you you might need scaling and root planing or a "deep cleaning."
I am anticipating this. I'm also thinking it might take a couple of visits. That's fine. I know I need to get back on track.
What the heck is root planing?
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:36 AM
 
Location: In a house
13,253 posts, read 38,249,188 times
Reputation: 20198
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpl1228 View Post
I am anticipating this. I'm also thinking it might take a couple of visits. That's fine. I know I need to get back on track.
What the heck is root planing?
Planing is when they dig down with a curved metal hook and gouge out the built-up calculus. It's not happy fun time.

If you are too disinterested to floss (I never used to floss, and even now I usually forget or just don't bother so I'm not lecturing you), get some GUM soft picks. You can get a description of them on their website, here:

GUM® Picks - GUMbrand.com the Official Site for GUM® Dental Hygiene Products

and you can buy them at any Walgreen's or CVS. They're basically soft rubbery-tipped pipe-cleaner brushes designed specifically to clean between your teeth. I get the disposable ones. They're pretty neat, and you can carry them in your pocket because they come in that little container. You just snap one off the row, use it, and toss it.
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:19 PM
 
1,552 posts, read 1,955,114 times
Reputation: 2379
Flossing is not needed for all your teeth. Only for the ones you want to keep.
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Old 08-13-2015, 02:38 PM
 
9,237 posts, read 19,871,616 times
Reputation: 22343
I recently just learned that although I'm intelligent and knowledgeable, with good hygiene, that I've totally misunderstood flossing! OP, I'm close to your age.

I've been flossing for years, not every day, but about 3 times a week, with floss-picks, not long string floss.

But in my 20s, I swore that I could not floss, because every time I tried, my gums would bleed. My gums were otherwise healthy, and I was getting good dental checkups, so I figured that flossing just was not for me because I had freakish gums that would bleed too easily. I've always brushed my teeth at least 4 times a day (I'm that weird co-worker at your office who brushes her teeth after coffee and after lunch in the ladies room). I've actually been told in the past by dentists and hygienists that I brush too hard (but wait, I thought that was good!) Then around 30 I decided that maybe I should floss. But whenever I'd try, my gums would bleed, so I would figure I'd have to give them a week to heal then try again. But no, then try would bleed again. Then I discovered those floss-picks and I loved them for years... up until last week, that is.

Now I learned that I have to have my teeth "deep cleaned" below the gum line next month or I'll be at risk of gum disease. Turns out, I was never really taught much about flossing, and what I did know was wrong. I just went to a new dentist and had a hygienist that was really informative.

1. I was finally told last week that if you don't floss, your gums WILL bleed when you try, but after a few times, they get tougher and after a week, they won't bleed at all. I was doing the exact opposite: Oops, they're bleeding, I'd better back off! instead of Oops, they're bleeding, I'd better do it more and build up a "callous" of sorts.

2. The floss-picks were great at cleaning between my teeth, above the gum line, but I was not getting below the gum line. Here, I'd thought all my life that the purpose of flossing was "to clean between your teeth." But it is really to clean below the gum line, with an emphasis on the areas between teeth. No one ever told me that, and I never went out of my way to do online research on something I thought I already knew.

3. String floss, unlike the floss picks, can wrap around the tooth in a C shape, and get under the gum line. I had no idea I was even supposed to go that deep! I figured that shoving string between my tooth and gum would cause them to separate and create a space for bacteria to get into. I had no idea you're supposed to floss down so deeply. Now I've been doing it for over a week and no bleeding, and I feel like I'm cleaning areas of my body I never knew existed!

4. I got a Waterpik too, but I'm seeing conflicting info in online info, in both clinical research and informal "research" on whether it's as good as or better than flossing. I figure, it can't hurt, and since I still have trouble getting the floss into that C shape around my back teeth (I still have wisdom teeth), I guess the Waterpik can do the job between my molars where flossing is hard. I don't know, though, how far under the gum line the Waterpik gets.

5. Since I've been obsessively-compulsively reading about this stuff since my eye-opening visit last week, I also learned that I've been using mouthwash wrong! I've always considered mouthwash as something to freshen the breath. Brushing teeth is for cleaning teeth, and mouthwash is for fresh breath. But seems I was wrong. I've been "gargling" with mouthwash twice a day for years, but never swishing it around my teeth. Did everyone know this but me? It appears that mouthwash can kills bacteria that might still be left after brushing, flossing, and Waterpicking, and you're supposed to swish it all over your teeth and that's more important than your throat.

6. I had never, ever heard of floss threaders, and now I know I've always needed them. I have a little wire behind some of my teeth, installed by my orthodontist back when I was like 17, to keep my teeth straight after the braces came off. I just never had it taken out, and hey, it kept my teeth straight. But I could never floss between those teeth. I just used the pick end of the floss picks. but these threader things are great, it's like threading a needle, and I can get the floss in between those teeth now and way below the gum line. No one--not the orthodontist, not past dentists, or past hygienists--ever mentioned these threaders to me.

I really feel like such an idiot that I didn't know this stuff, when I've always considered myself to be very hygienic even to the point of compulsivity about some things. Now I have all these new things to worry about. I still can't floss my whole mouth in 30 seconds though--it's taking me a long time and I keep pulling out new pieces of floss, thinking I can't use the same section on more than one tooth. I seem to be getting a little OCD-ish, but I guess that's better than what I had been doing.
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Old 08-16-2015, 12:25 PM
 
Location: New Mexico via Ohio via Indiana
1,609 posts, read 1,504,728 times
Reputation: 2551
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
I recently just learned that although I'm intelligent and knowledgeable, with good hygiene, that I've totally misunderstood flossing! OP, I'm close to your age.

I've been flossing for years, not every day, but about 3 times a week, with floss-picks, not long string floss.

But in my 20s, I swore that I could not floss, because every time I tried, my gums would bleed. My gums were otherwise healthy, and I was getting good dental checkups, so I figured that flossing just was not for me because I had freakish gums that would bleed too easily. I've always brushed my teeth at least 4 times a day (I'm that weird co-worker at your office who brushes her teeth after coffee and after lunch in the ladies room). I've actually been told in the past by dentists and hygienists that I brush too hard (but wait, I thought that was good!) Then around 30 I decided that maybe I should floss. But whenever I'd try, my gums would bleed, so I would figure I'd have to give them a week to heal then try again. But no, then try would bleed again. Then I discovered those floss-picks and I loved them for years... up until last week, that is.

Now I learned that I have to have my teeth "deep cleaned" below the gum line next month or I'll be at risk of gum disease. Turns out, I was never really taught much about flossing, and what I did know was wrong. I just went to a new dentist and had a hygienist that was really informative.

1. I was finally told last week that if you don't floss, your gums WILL bleed when you try, but after a few times, they get tougher and after a week, they won't bleed at all. I was doing the exact opposite: Oops, they're bleeding, I'd better back off! instead of Oops, they're bleeding, I'd better do it more and build up a "callous" of sorts.

2. The floss-picks were great at cleaning between my teeth, above the gum line, but I was not getting below the gum line. Here, I'd thought all my life that the purpose of flossing was "to clean between your teeth." But it is really to clean below the gum line, with an emphasis on the areas between teeth. No one ever told me that, and I never went out of my way to do online research on something I thought I already knew.

3. String floss, unlike the floss picks, can wrap around the tooth in a C shape, and get under the gum line. I had no idea I was even supposed to go that deep! I figured that shoving string between my tooth and gum would cause them to separate and create a space for bacteria to get into. I had no idea you're supposed to floss down so deeply. Now I've been doing it for over a week and no bleeding, and I feel like I'm cleaning areas of my body I never knew existed!

4. I got a Waterpik too, but I'm seeing conflicting info in online info, in both clinical research and informal "research" on whether it's as good as or better than flossing. I figure, it can't hurt, and since I still have trouble getting the floss into that C shape around my back teeth (I still have wisdom teeth), I guess the Waterpik can do the job between my molars where flossing is hard. I don't know, though, how far under the gum line the Waterpik gets.

5. Since I've been obsessively-compulsively reading about this stuff since my eye-opening visit last week, I also learned that I've been using mouthwash wrong! I've always considered mouthwash as something to freshen the breath. Brushing teeth is for cleaning teeth, and mouthwash is for fresh breath. But seems I was wrong. I've been "gargling" with mouthwash twice a day for years, but never swishing it around my teeth. Did everyone know this but me? It appears that mouthwash can kills bacteria that might still be left after brushing, flossing, and Waterpicking, and you're supposed to swish it all over your teeth and that's more important than your throat.

6. I had never, ever heard of floss threaders, and now I know I've always needed them. I have a little wire behind some of my teeth, installed by my orthodontist back when I was like 17, to keep my teeth straight after the braces came off. I just never had it taken out, and hey, it kept my teeth straight. But I could never floss between those teeth. I just used the pick end of the floss picks. but these threader things are great, it's like threading a needle, and I can get the floss in between those teeth now and way below the gum line. No one--not the orthodontist, not past dentists, or past hygienists--ever mentioned these threaders to me.

I really feel like such an idiot that I didn't know this stuff, when I've always considered myself to be very hygienic even to the point of compulsivity about some things. Now I have all these new things to worry about. I still can't floss my whole mouth in 30 seconds though--it's taking me a long time and I keep pulling out new pieces of floss, thinking I can't use the same section on more than one tooth. I seem to be getting a little OCD-ish, but I guess that's better than what I had been doing.
^ good info.
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Old 08-16-2015, 12:26 PM
 
11,177 posts, read 10,098,254 times
Reputation: 17184
If you catch your dentist thumbing through a Mercedes catalog, watch out!
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Old 08-16-2015, 02:20 PM
 
Location: In a house
13,253 posts, read 38,249,188 times
Reputation: 20198
Quote:
Originally Posted by katie45 View Post
If you catch your dentist thumbing through a Mercedes catalog, watch out!
Yeah, because he doesn't deserve a Mercedes, but his patient the guy who throws a little white ball around a field four months out of the year, does.
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