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I Don't Floss My Teeth Anymore And My Gums Are More Healthy

Updated on November 15, 2013

A few years a go I had trouble with my gums. I flossed every night but still my gums weren’t healthy.

I went to the dentist and she would say, “You aren’t flossing.”

Well, yes I was, every night in fact but for some reason it didn’t show on my teeth. When you are doing what you are supposed to with no results you soon figure why bother?


Scrubbing away my gums

Since the flossing wasn’t doing the job I started scrubbing my teeth harder and longer thinking that would get them cleaner and toughen up my gums. I used a Colgate soft toothbrush but it was not soft enough and soon I had gum loss so bad that I had to have oral surgery to replace the missing tissue.

In case you don’t know the procedure, they take a piece of flesh from the roof of your mouth and sew it to the area around your tooth roots that are exposed. Sometimes they take tissue from a cadaver. They usually give you a choice and I chose my own skin. If this sounds painful, you are right, it is.

The roof of my mouth was the most sore and took several weeks before it felt normal again. You don’t realize how much food touches the roof of your mouth until it’s raw and irritated.

No medical procedure is pleasant but having dental work done is always worse to me. I can't stand needles or other sharp objects in my mouth.

This procedure is expensive because they have to knock you out completely using anesthetic so you pay a surgeon and an anesthesiologist. You also have to have someone drive you home.

We should all have our kids go to school for dentistry, those guys are doing quite well.


Stimudent toothpicks

After that I knew I needed to do something different. I can only afford to help send so many dentist kids to college or buy him a new car. The toothbrush the dentist gave me wasn’t doing the job so I went to the store to look for a better solution.

I have always been a recycle nut so when I saw Preserve toothbrushes made from recycled yogurt cups I thought I’d try them. They are much softer than the Colgate brand. Apparently there isn’t a universal gage for “soft.” One brand’s soft is another brand’s medium or even hard.

I love the Preserve toothbrushes. They have a program where you mail the used brush back to the company for free so they can recycle them again. The second time round they don’t make more brushes.

I also picked up some dental toothpicks called stimudent. These are angled toothpicks made from orange wood that get between the teeth much better than dental floss. Unlike floss you can angle the pick downwards to get below the gum line cleaning deeper so you get every particle.

Stimudent also forces your teeth apart so it’s easier to get in between to clean better. You won’t have big gaps in your mouth, nothing noticeable just easier to clean.

Here’s what happens; in between your teeth are pockets, if you aren’t cleaning well enough these pockets get larger but even if you are you’ll still have a little bit. A stimudent toothpick can get down in these pockets since you can angle it to clean better. Floss just runs across the top not reaching this area. It’s like a rope stretched across the top of two hills; the river below isn’t touched.

Not only that, you can scrape around the teeth below your gum line getting areas better than your toothbrush bristles do. You can use these while watching television, chatting online or even driving in the car, anywhere. Flossing takes two hands, stimudent only takes one.



Healthy gums

After using these tools for a few weeks I went back for my scheduled cleaning and my dentist was impressed. She said, “I can tell you’ve been flossing.”

I said, “No, I gave up floss since it wasn’t working anyway and now I use Stimudent.” Before I was flossing and she always assumed I was fibbing. So now I don’t floss and she thinks I’m flossing.

My gums never bleed even when I have my teeth cleaned by the dental hygienist. She and my dentist now rave about my healthy gums every time I go in.


Actually, I do still use floss sometimes. Every now and then if I can’t get something wedged between my teeth with the Stimudent like roast beef but that doesn’t happen very often. Most of the time the toothpicks will get it just fine.

I keep Stimudent in my purse, near my computer and in the bathroom. I’m never without them so I can get any food particles out right after I eat. Once you get in the habit of using them you can’t be without them and the more you use them the healthier your gums will be.

Healthy gums means healthy teeth which means less dental work and keeping your teeth.

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    • Pamela N Red profile image
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      Pamela N Red 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Ella, flossing works for some people but not me. Like I said, I was flossing and my hygienist thought I was lying so for me floss doesn't work.

      I hope the Stimudent works for you and keeps your teeth and gums healthy.

    • profile image

      ella johnson 3 years ago

      I am so glad I came across this article. My former dentist took me off flossing and put me on stimudents. Because of his retirement, I have been going to a new dentist who told me to floss. I tried it, but didn't like it as much as stimudents which I have gone back to.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
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      Pamela N Red 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting information, Cedric. My dentist did mention an electric toothbrush but I haven't tried one. I do okay with the manual kind as long as I buy the soft and don't brush too hard.

      Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Cedric 3 years ago

      An ADA article says Stim-u-Dents have about the same gingivitis and plaque removal scores as waxed floss. You do make a point that Stim-u-Dents work on different parts of the gums than floss. As for gums, switch to Oral-B electric toothbrushes, and hold the brush in your opposite hand. I'm pretty sure you're brushing too hard, which will wear away your gums. I don't know why your dentist didn't recommend an electronic toothbrush -- much less expensive than a trip to the dentists!

      "In this study Finkelstein et. al. examined 107 adult subjects in a six-week clinical trial comparing regular brushing with either STIM-U-DENT or J & J’s waxed dental floss. After a two-week period of brushing only, subjects were divided into the following three cells: brushing only, brushing and STIM-U-DENT, and brushing and flossing. Reduction in gingivitis scores were the following: 46% for STIM-U-DENT, 49% for floss, and 14% for brushing only. Reduction in plaque scores was not significant [14%, 18% and 9%, respectively].

    • profile image

      jasontoheal 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      It works for me and hopefully will work for others. Thanks for reading.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Pamela N Red, I found this hub to be most informative. Thank you so much for sharing this. I, too, need to find a better way to care for my gums, and it's such a relief to discover that there are inexpensive alternatives out there. God bless you! Aloha!

    • Pamela N Red profile image
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      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Lindacee, Yes I do especially if I run the stimudent pick around the edges of my gum line. The thing I like about Preserve brushes is that they aren't too hard. I've tried Colgate and a few other brands but they still were too stiff and hard on my gums.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Great Hub! I have several areas with deep pockets and flossing just doesn't do the trick. I currently floss and have been using plastic picks, but they are very rigid and scratch my gums. I haven't used Stimudents in a long while, but I'm going to run out and buy some. I will also try the Preserve toothbrushes (I believe years of brushing too hard with medium bristle brushes have also contributed to gum damage). Do you find the combination of Stimudent and the Preserve toothbrush to cut down on the amount of plaque? Thanks for sharing your experience! Voted up, useful and interesting!

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Pumpkincat, try a Preserve toothbrush, I think you will like it. Stimudent works really well.

    • pumpkincat210 profile image

      Courtney Rhodes 5 years ago from Houston, Texas U.S.A.

      Interesting and helpful! I bought a toothbrush recently labeled soft, but the bristles are in a zig zag shape and aren't very soft. I started flossing more, but that didn't help. I never really thought I could be "brushing my gums away". I will definitely switch brushes and get some Stimudent, since i use a lot of floss and still don't get everything between my teeth.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
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      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      GoGreen, I've heard a lot of people like water pick. I can't take it with me and if I'm out and need to get something out of my teeth stimudent works great.

    • GoGreenTips profile image

      Greg Johnson 5 years ago from Indianapolis

      Interesting hub. Never used stimudent although have seen it. I found that a waterpick combined with floss works really well for me. Voted up!

    • jaswinder64 profile image

      jaswinder64 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada.

      Tons of information with your own experiences. Good article. Voted Up!

    • Pamela N Red profile image
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      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Peachpurple, gums are weird, the more we mess with them the less they bleed. Cleaning around them makes them more healthy so the more flossing or using a stimudent the better.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Very informative hub. I don't floss everyday because my gum will bleed easily. When I brush my teeth everyday, my gum still bleeds. I did use toothpick to dig out those food stuck in between gums and tooth, works well. Thanks for sharing. Voted interesting

    • Pamela N Red profile image
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      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      They certainly work better for me. I was flossing but it wasn't doing any good. I'm so glad I discovered stimudent because it's made a world of difference in my gums.

    • Pam Euangelion profile image

      Pam Euangelion 5 years ago

      I had the same experience until a dentist told me to use the picks.

      I particularly disliked flossing and then getting scolded for not doing it; I guess it's the kid in me! I also find the toothpicks easier to use than floss and my gums stopped bleeding after less than a week using the picks.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thoughtfulgirl2, flossing works for many people it just didn't work for me. In my case Stimudent picks worked better.

    • profile image

      thoughtfulgirl2 5 years ago

      You know, I always thought flossing would be a great way to spread germs and your hub may have me believe this a little bit more. Good hub:)

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Sharyn, I flossed for years without any improvement and ended up needing gum surgery. After using Stimudent I haven't had any more problems and my dentist tells me how great my gums look. I definitely think it's worth a try especially if flossing isn't working for you.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Hi Pam ~ great hub. I have "gum issues" and will definitely look into Stimudent toothpicks as a new option. Thank you for writing this informative article.

      Sharyn

    • Pamela N Red profile image
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      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Glenn, I think this is one of those times when some things work better for some people but not for others. I didn't have good luck with floss even when using your technique.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I know what you mean about flossing. The way I use floss seems to solve the issue you mentioned. I rap it around one side of each tooth as low into the gum as possible, and then I pull it up away from the gum. I do the same on both sides of each tooth. It's amazing what it pulls out, particles that brushing can't get out from the gum line.

      Anyway, I can see that Stimudent toothpicks are another solution to getting food particles out from the gum line. And like you said, it can be done with one hand. So I'm going to get those for myself. Thanks for the tip. Voted up and useful.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      WannaB Writer, I don't think flossing works for everyone and sometimes they need a different way of cleaning. These work great for me. You gums may bleed at first but eventually you will toughen them up and they won't bleed anymore. Try swishing hydrogen peroxide around your teeth. Don't swallow any but it will heal your gums.

      Pandula, it works really well for me. For those not having good luck with flossing this is worth a try.

    • pandula77 profile image

      pandula77 5 years ago from Norway

      This is a very informative hub and think I should try out what you have described myself. I am sure it works for many and hope it will work for me also! Voted up.

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Thank you for this. I have a lot of trouble with flossing and have never been able to do it without making my gums bleed. Dentists have said I don't have gum disease -- just receding gums. The run in the family on my Dad's side. You have shown me a better way that appears to work. Rated up and more.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Breakfastpop, I love them too. They work so well to get that hard to reach food.

      Ruchira, rinsing is good but it doesn't always get hard to reach foods.

      Susie, that's not good. I think many toothbrushes are too hard on our gums. I like the Preserve better than the other brands. I haven't tried a Waterpic but know they are popular.

    • Susie Writes profile image

      Susan 5 years ago from Northern California

      So glad you wrote this! I just had my teeth cleaned after not having it done for *gasp* 4 years!!! I know. My bad. The hygienist told me my teeth were not as bad as she expected. "They are in really good shape for how long it's been. You must floss regularly." No. I don't. Very little as a matter of fact. After being told my gums were receding and I would need the same grafting you write about, I got a Waterpic and use it regularly. No more gum issues. And I enjoy using it, unlike flossing. I still floss occasionally, but I don't bleed profusely like I used to when I do it. Thanks again for sharing this hub,Pamela.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Pam...I don't floss either but make sure to rinse my mouth every time I eat/drink any fluid other than water.

      So far so good. But, will try Stimudent product since, never heard of it.

      thanks and voted up as useful.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      I love Stimudent! My last dental hygienist told me they were stupid. Actually, I think she was stupid. I find it very hard to floss, too.

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Jenubouka, I haven't bitten anyone but my mouth is very small and hard to work in. Some have a hard time. I have a man doctor now but luckily he has small hands for a guy.

    • profile image

      jenubouka 5 years ago

      Wow o wow, some very valuable info for those who are struggling with this. I have never heard of the picks before, but it makes all more sense to me. I absolutely despise the dentist, I think they are charging outrageous rates for a vital expense, and they know it. So any kind of prevention that can be done at home is truly priceless in my book, as this was for me.

      The gum surgery sounds absolutely frightening and painful! I also do not like some stranger sticking their hands in my mouth and poking around, in fact I have been kicked out of some dentists for biting...Hey, I told them no picks, and to be gentle.

      Great hub Pamela will be looking for these products thanks to this!

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Prasetio, we only get one set so we have to take care of them. Take care.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 5 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Very inspiring hub. Thanks for share your self experience with us. I learn many things from you. The conclusion is we should more care with our teeth, right! Good job and rated up!

      Blessing, Prasetio

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      SWB, if you use stimudent you can reduce those pockets completely. I had that problem before using these picks and now don't have any deep pockets.

      Angela, it will save us money in the long run.

      Writer20, having good dental insurance is important. If you can keep your gums healthy you won't have that problem.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Back about 10 years ago my dentist said I had gingivitis but my insurance refuse to pay because they look at the xrays and said I don't need it, this went on and on.

      I had my H/R put my case to them as my dentist said they want your teeth to drop out first. Then they cut all the diseased tissue away that was that. Your lucky in a one sense your dentist new about replacment tissue.

      Voted up,useful and interesting.

    • angelachristine profile image

      angelachristine 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      This is very informative. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. The more we can reduce needing major dental work the better. It often expensive and very uncomfortable.

    • swb64 profile image

      swb64 5 years ago from Addingham, UK.

      Yes, im sure dentists do enjoy it! my deepest pocket goes to a number five, only round one tooth, and thankfully the bone is OK...

    • Pamela N Red profile image
      Author

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      SWB, I do not like dental work and try to keep mine down to only twice a year cleanings.

      Peoplepower, floss works for some people. My husband has great luck with it but some of us have deeper pockets between our teeth and floss does us no good.

      Gemini Fox flossing is enough for some but wasn't helping me.

      Maria, thanks for reading. I like videos that show us how things are made. I used to love the Sesame Street videos.

    • Maria Yong profile image

      Maria Yong 5 years ago from West Vancouver

      Interesting article. Love the vid.

    • Gemini Fox profile image

      Gemini Fox 5 years ago

      Thank you for this hub! Very interesting - I never knew this about flossing and, as you know, all you hear about is how much you should floss! It's good to hear from someone who has actually gone through this experience (although not fun for you!) and found what we're told everyday not to be true. Fluoride is another dental issue: we're all told it is so good for us and it's not!!

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 5 years ago from Placentia California

      Thank for the article. I floss and the dentist seems to happy with it. But I stll get plaque build up and have to have my teeth cleaned every six months. I loved the video. It was very interesting. Thanks for SHARING. I vote up and interesting.

    • swb64 profile image

      swb64 5 years ago from Addingham, UK.

      Well, im currently going through treatment at the Leeds Dental Hospital, various reasons due to my Sarcoid, I too do floss but it does not remove the 'debris' like the various sizes of inter-dental brushes, they are great. A polished Hub indeed!