Flossing your teeth is an essential part oral health. It allows you to get to food particles where they can’t be reached otherwise as well as removing plaque in places where your toothbrush can’t reach easily. In order to maximize flossing benefits, here are some tips:
- Purchase PTFE (monofilament), single filament floss that slides between teeth. PTFE floss tends to be more expensive than nylon floss, which is made up of several strands of nylon and more easily shreds/tears, but it slides more easily between teeth and is shred-resistant.
- Be sure to break off at least 18 inches of dental floss. Wind the floss around the middle finger on one hand, and the rest around the middle finger of the other hand. Leave about one to three inches to floss your teeth.
- Floss only one tooth at a time, and rub the floss against all the sides of the tooth. Use fresh floss as you move onto your next tooth. You can start at the back of your mouth, near the molars, and then work your way toward the front set of teeth.
- When you floss, hold it tightly and without slack between your two hands. Make sure you use a gentle sawing motion in order to avoid hitting the softer gum tissue and line. When you reach the gum line, curve the floss to make a C-shape against the tooth. If you don’t floss regularly, your gums will bleed when you first start. They’ll also be sore for the first five to six days. Gradually, the plaque in your mouth will break up and the bacteria will be removed. After a week, your gums should be healed, and the bleeding should stop.
- If you find floss hard to use, there are other more designer-friendly dental picks or sticks to use in order to clean between your teeth. Many people also use floss holders, which makes flossing easier for people who don’t have great dexterity in their fingers.
- Be sure to rinse out your mouth after you complete flossing.
- Make flossing a daily habit: floss in the morning to get rid of the plaque build-up from the night before, and floss in the evening before heading to bed. You can also carry floss with you to work, and floss after lunch.
Doctor Saliba, a respected Orange County dentist in Corona Del Mar also recommends the waterpick as an excellent alternative for those that do not enjoy the traditional flossing methods. Whatever method you choose to use, understand that you are doing a wonderful thing for your oral health when you floss regularly.