You’ve probably been told by your dentist how to floss and that you should do it daily. However, that doesn’t mean that you (and others) have taken this advice to heart.
After all, which the majority of Americans will brush their teeth every day, only 4 out of 10 Americans floss their teeth daily. The thing is, flossing isn’t an aesthetic step that you can ignore. It’s actually an essential oral hygiene step that you’ll want to make into a daily habit.
If you’re unfamiliar with you should be flossing in the first place, or how to do so, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the basics of how to properly floss your teeth, and why it’s so important. We’ll also take a quick look at the different types of dental floss you can use.
The Importance of Flossing
Before we give you the step-by-step manual on how to floss, let’s make sure you know why it’s so important to do it every single day.
Basically, if you’re looking for a way to remove plaque as much as possible from your teeth, then flossing is the way to go.
When you floss at least once daily, you’re physically breaking down the plaque on and around your teeth.
This plaque is a bacterial biofilm that is the main driving cause behind tooth decay. Moreover, the accumulation of plaque can lead to bad breath and even gum diseases like periodontitis.
Flossing enables you to get to the hard-to-reach plaque in the small gaps between your teeth. Besides, it’s a great way to polish your teeth and have them looking brighter.
You can always go for a consultation at http://www.boisedentist.com/ to make sure that you’re dental health is on the right track.
How to Floss 101: The Proper Flossing Technique
You’ll want to start by relaxing your cheeks and your lips. We know that it sounds strange, but you’d be surprised at how difficult it can be to floss with tight oral muscles. You won’t be able to get your fingers in the right positions.
Now, you’ll want to cut off a floss piece that’s around 18 inches long or so. You can wrap it around the middle finger of both of your hands.
Take a look at the gap you have between your hands, you’ll want it to be around three or four inches wide. This will give you enough maneuverability so that you can place the floss between all of your teeth.
You’ll want to gently guide the floss between your first set of teeth. Remember to make a smooth sawing motion as you’re slipping the floss between your teeth. Once the gap is smoothened out, don’t saw into your gums.
Taking One Tooth at a Time
You need to know that every tooth has two sides that you’ll be flossing. There’s a triangle of gum tissue between your teeth that you’ll want to treat gently.
All you need to do is floss each space between your teeth separately. Put your floss in a “C” shape, so that it’s hugging your tooth. Then, runs the floss upwards and downwards starting at the gum line.
Keep in mind that you’ll want your fingers to be as close to the tooth as possible. This will help with moving your hands together. Once you’ve started hearing a squeaky clean noise, this side of the tooth is good to go.
You’ll want to hop to the next side of your tooth by sliding across from the top contact area to the other side. Start applying pressure on the opposite side of the tooth and repeat your flossing motions.
Check Your Floss
At this point, you can slide the floss out from between your teeth. If you notice some fraying or that it’s yellow-brown in color, that’s a good indication that you’re removing plaque.
You’ll want to grab some new floss and repeat the process for the next tooth. make sure you’re not forgetting the back areas of your last molars.
When Is the Right Time to Floss?
Generally speaking, as long as you do it once a daily, the details aren’t really relevant.
However, if you’re looking for a way to optimize your flossing game, then here’s how you should do it.
You’ll want to floss first, then brush away at your teeth. The reason behind the specific ordering of action is that flossing is a great way to release any food particles or plaque that’s stuck between your teeth.
On the other end, brushing is the way to remove all of those particles from your mouth. Thus, if you decide to brush first then floss afterward, you’ll be dealing with some remains of plaque and food in your mouth.
The Main Types of Dental Floss
Depending on your comfort levels, as well as whether you have bridges or braces, you’ll want to choose the right dental floss for you.
There are some dental floss that’s easier to use if you have bigger gaps between your teeth and others that are more appropriate for tighter spaces.
The first type is called dental tape. This one is flat and broad, almost like a ribbon. It’s easy to use if you have gaps or large spaces between your teeth.
The second type of your standard dental floss. It’s made of a thin nylon strand that can be wither waxed or unwaxed, as well as flavored or unflavored.
If you’re looking for something that has minimal friction between crowded teeth, dental floss with a wax coating is a great option.
The third main type is known (affectionately) as super floss. Basically, it has three parts. A dental threader that can be of great help when you’re flossing with dental work in your mouth. There’s the spongy floss part to clean things up, and the stiffened end to reach those tight spaces underneath your appliances.
Ready to Floss Away Your Problems?
We know that flossing, for those not used to it, can seem a bit too complex and time-consuming. However, after learning how to floss, you’re more aware of how simple the process truly is.
Hopefully, our guide has shed some light on the importance of flossing and helped you get the right floss for your needs.
If you liked our article, make sure to check out our health section for all the dental tips and tricks you could need.