Flossing tends to be one of the most overlooked forms of dental hygiene. Yes, brushing your teeth is important, but so is flossing daily. In order to effectively protect your teeth from cavities and decay, you need to add this habit to your oral care routine. Let us teach you how to properly floss so that you get the best results.
Is it Really Necessary?
If you’re not convinced that flossing is actually beneficial, maybe we can help. Flossing protects you from cavities and gum disease by easily removing plaque. Plaque is that sticky film on your teeth that contains a bacteria drawn to sugar and leftover food in your mouth. Once it begins to feed on the leftovers, it releases an acid that destroys your teeth and causes cavities. Plaque easily sneaks between your teeth, in the hard to reach places that your toothbrush can miss. Flossing is the best way to eliminate the plaque. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens and turns into tartar, a substance that leads to gum disease. Tartar cannot be removed by anyone except your dentist. So, the most effective way to prevent tartar buildup, cavities, and plaque is to floss every day.
How Do I Floss?
Below are five steps that will help you floss correctly. This correct technique is provided by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Step 1. Take 18 inches of floss and wind the majority of it around one of your middle fingers on your left hand. Take the remaining floss and wind it around the same finger on your right hand, leaving a few inches of floss in between.
Step 2. Take the leftover floss and tightly hold it between both thumbs and pointer fingers. You will move through the floss, unwinding it from your left hand and catching used floss in your right hand.
Step 3. With a gentle, rubbing motion, move the floss between your teeth. Be careful to avoid snapping the floss into the gums.
Step 4. Once you get to the gum line, curve the floss into a C shape around the tooth. Carefully move the floss into the space between the gum and the tooth.
Step 5. With the floss tight against the side of the tooth, move it gently in an up and down motion away from the gumline.
Repeat steps 3-5 on every tooth and make sure you floss the back side of your last tooth.
What Else Should I Know?
The exact time of day that you need to floss is up to you. All that matters is that you include this habit on a daily basis. Many people feel that they are less rushed at night and add a few extra minutes to their nighttime routine by flossing. For those that are too tired to do one more thing in the evening, we suggest flossing after your mid-afternoon snack.
There are several different kinds of floss that you can use. Find the one that is best for you and will not deter you from skipping this important step. One type is unwaxed floss. If your teeth are close together, this floss is good because it is thin and fits into tight spaces. However, it is prone to breaking or shredding. Waxed floss is a nylon floss with a wax coating. It is stronger and breaks less easily than unwaxed floss. There are also soft flosses for those with sensitive teeth and gums that bleed easily. Flavored flosses are ideal for kids, and super floss is best for those with braces or dental bridges.
While regularly brushing and flossing is key to good oral hygiene and a healthy mouth, these habits do not exempt you from a professional teeth cleaning. Schedule a cleaning for the whole family at Anderson & Atkins, DDS today by calling (979)846-1813.