A Complete Guide to Flossing Teeth
Flossing is a crucial aspect of maintaining good oral hygiene, helping to prevent plaque buildup, and ultimately reducing the risk of periodontal disease. By getting rid of as much oral bacteria as possible, you can steer clear of issues like bad breath, cavities, and potential tooth loss.
Making flossing a part of your daily routine, ideally, once a day or more, plays a vital role in preserving the health and longevity of your teeth, complementing the benefits of regular brushing. Here's our complete guide to flossing your teeth.
Choose the Right Floss
Selecting the right dental floss is essential for a comfortable flossing experience that suits your teeth and gums. With various options available, such as waxed or unwaxed, flavored or unflavored, you have the flexibility to choose what feels best for you. Understanding the different types of dental floss empowers you to make an informed choice tailored to your unique needs.
String dental floss, both waxed and unwaxed, is a familiar option. Each kind is equally effective, and you can opt for the one that offers the greatest comfort. For instance, waxed floss tends to glide more smoothly between closely spaced teeth, making it an excellent choice for individuals with teeth in close proximity. Other options include the following:
- Dental tape, on the other hand, is thicker and suits teeth with wider gaps.
- Picks hold a piece of floss between two arms, facilitating flossing for those with limited hand mobility. Threaders function like a needle holding thread, simplifying the process of passing floss through teeth and around dental appliances like braces or bridges.
- Interdental brushes are slim and round to effectively remove food particles from tight spaces.
- Water flossers, emitting a thin stream of water, offer a convenient alternative, especially for those with reduced mobility or dental appliances that pose flossing challenges.
Proper Flossing Technique
There is a right way to floss, but the good news is that executing the proper flossing technique only involves a few simple steps.
Begin by using about 18 inches of floss, wrapping most of it around your index fingers. This provides better control over the flossing process. Hold the floss between your thumb and index fingers, leaving three to four inches exposed for flossing.
Gently slide the floss between your teeth, avoiding excessive force to prevent gum irritation. Employ a "C" shape motion, moving it up and down along your teeth to effectively remove plaque and debris. Floss each tooth individually, using a new section of floss for each one. Don't forget to floss your rear molars, a critical area for preventing gum disease and tooth decay.
Be sure to finish by rinsing with water or mouthwash to ensure no residual particles remain.
Consistency is key when it comes to flossing. If bleeding gums occur initially, it's a sign that more regular flossing is needed. Make it your goal to floss at least once a day for about two to three minutes, ideally after brushing your teeth. This routine significantly contributes to the overall health and longevity of your teeth. Cultivate the habit of daily flossing to maintain a fresh and radiant smile.
Let Family and Implant Dentistry Partner With You for a Healthy Smile
Whether you are new to flossing or already a perfect everyday flosser, our dental team will meet you where you are to help you with your dental oral hygiene and cosmetic goals.