Tips to Help You Floss like a Dentist

Excerpt: If you want to have a good oral care, then you have to ensure that you are making floss a daily part of your dental regime.

Why Should I Floss Regularly

There is an erroneous belief that brushing alone (even with the most sophisticated manual or electric toothbrush), brushing very hard or brushing for longer than three minutes will eliminate the need for you to clean in between your teeth– this is false. What is true is that performing some form of regular and effective cleaning in between the teeth is very important. Dentists and dental hygienists have determined that cleaning in between the teeth with some form of floss (waxed or not) is the best, most reliable way to maintain the cleanliness of the areas in between your teeth. 

Teeth that are regularly flossed (at least once per day, but twice is better) develop far fewer incidents of decay and gum inflammation is greatly reduced. In fact – as a person ages, cleaning in between the teeth (which flossing accomplishes very well) becomes even more important as this will reduce the incidents and the overall extent of gum disease. Gum disease is characterized by gingival redness, gingival bleeding and gradual loss of bone height caused by bacterial irritation. The occurrence and extent of gum disease can be reduced if the teeth in question receive regular professional and at-home cleaning in between, around and under the gums. 

Before You Start Flossing

Before you floss your teeth, make sure that you are using a good quality floss. Floss that is thin, woven and waxed works best but you should use what works best for your unique dentition. Before you start flossing, dispense 12-18 inches of floss, as it gives you enough length to secure it between your fingers. To make sure that you are able to move the floss in the right way between the teeth, wrap some part of it around your fingers and then gently work a short length of the floss in between the teeth with an up and down/in and out rubbing motion. When flossing properly, you should see the floss disappear slightly under your gums but not so far as to cause pain. Flossing should be treated with the same level of commitment as brushing your teeth which means that it could take you as long to floss your teeth as it does to brush them – even longer if you have bridges, braces or dental implants.  

What Floss Should I Use? 

Studies performed by dental hygienist have shown that their patients seem to prefer waxed flosses however, the best floss to use is a floss that both meets your needs and that you are committed to using – daily. For example, a child with braces will probably be best served with Super Floss as it is pre-cut and has a stiffened tip to make threading it under their orthodontic hardware easier, an adult with a fully natural dentition would probably be best served with a waxed or un-waxed conventional floss. 

When Should I Floss?

The best time to floss is the night time before going to bed. Bacteria are most active at night so removing all of their food sources – especially in between the teeth is key to warding off cavities and protecting the gums from periodontal disease.

Is Flossing Painful?

If you are experiencing pain while flossing, then you should visit the dentist right away. Pain might be a sign of active periodontal disease or tooth decay that has formed between the teeth or under the gums. A dentist or a dental hygienist will be able to show and tell you about the right method to floss your unique gums and teeth.

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