Flossing may not be your favorite thing to do, but it is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your teeth. Flossing clears away food and other debris that can get stuck between teeth. Without flossing, bacteria can build up and cause cavities. While it may seem simple, there is actually a bit of technique to flossing like a dentist.
- Starting off: When flossing, start with about 18 inches of floss. Wrap the extra length around your fingers and leave a few inches between them. Gently work the floss between each tooth by sliding it up and down in a rubbing motion. When you reach the gum line, gently slide the floss into the space between each tooth and the gum line. ( If you wrap the floss around your middle finger, you can use your index finger to more effectively control the floss)
- What floss to use: Waxed floss is generally recommended because it glides over your teeth easier than un-waxed floss. When you are choosing a floss material, look for PTFE floss instead of nylon floss, because nylon versions can shred more easily. Glide is a nice brand for people with tight teeth, as it is Teflon coated and it won’t leave shredded pieces of floss behind.
- When to floss: In a Dentist’s dream world, brushing and flossing would happen after every meal. But if you can only floss once a day, we recommend doing it at bedtime. When you’re asleep, saliva production slows down and allows bacteria to build up, so flossing before bedtime can decrease the bacteria growing at night.
- How to floss on the go: We recommend that you keep a single – use, disposable ” flosser” with you at all times. You will be thankful if you have a piece of food stuck in your teeth while out and about. You can find these at any drug store.
- If flossing is painful: If you discover pain or bleeding in your gums while flossing, see your dentist right away. It could be a sign of gum disease. Healthy gums do not bleed.
With just a few tricks and techniques, you’ll soon be flossing just as well as your dentist!