How To Floss (Your Ultimate Guide – 2022)

Excerpt: Many people think that if they do a good enough job brushing...
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Many people think that if they do a good enough job brushing, they don’t need to floss. Flossing, however, is incredibly important and can clean areas of your mouth that may be hard to reach with brushing.

What Is Flossing?

Flossing involves taking a thin piece of material, usually made of nylon, and running it between your teeth. It is effective at moving food particles that have become lodged in between your teeth that you may, or may not have noticed. Flossing should be done at least as often as you brush. It may also be advisable to carry some around with you at all times just in case you get food caught in your teeth at a meal.

Are There Different Types Of Dental Floss? 

Yes, there are! However, the most important thing is that you are flossing regularly. The different types of floss are mainly there for different preferences. You may need a specific floss for your orthopedic device, in this case, it is important.

Unwaxed Floss

This is the most basic type of floss you can get, it consists of strands of nylon twisted together to make a thread. The lack of wax can make it prone to breaking, but it may also be easier to get into harder spots.

Waxed Floss

This is virtually the same as unwaxed floss, the wax coating strengthens the floss and makes it much less likely to break. The wax may also make it difficult if your teeth are very close together.

Dental Tape

Dental tape gets its name due to the width of the floss, it is wider than standard floss. People tend to find it easier to hold on to than regular floss, and it can be useful if you have wider gaps in your teeth. 

Polytetrafluorethylene Floss (PTFE)

This floss is made from the same material used to make Gore-Tex. It tends to slide easier between the teeth and is less likely to shred than standard nylon floss.

Super Floss

Super floss is made from a yarn-like material that is reinforced with stiff ends. These ends are used to thread the floss through orthopedic devices, through bridges, etc. Some people may need super floss to get a full clean of their teeth.

Floss Pick

These tools are incredibly useful as they allow for more control over the floss. The tool consists of a plastic handle where one side is meant for flossing, and the other side has a point so you can pick your teeth. People often prefer floss picks as they are significantly easier to use and control than normal floss.

Flavored Vs. Unflavored floss

You can also buy floss based on different flavors, depending on what you enjoy. Typically these flavors will consist of different types of mint, but there are others as well. If you don’t like the flavor, you can always get a flavorless floss.
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What Are The Benefits Of Flossing?

While brushing your teeth, tongue, and gums is incredibly important, they may not do a great job at cleaning between your teeth. You’ve probably experienced eating a piece of chicken breast or celery, only to find out later that part of it is still stuck between your teeth. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it will also present an issue for your gums. Food particles can cause swelling, redness, and bleeding in your gums if the particles are not cleaned. If you go to bed without flossing and you have a piece of food big enough to cause issues, it might be a painful surprise in the morning.

Starchy And Sugary Foods

These foods are infamous for being stuck between your teeth. They are also bad due to the high amounts of carbohydrates. This means the bacteria in your mouth will be digesting these foods and producing plaque. This will eventually lead to tooth decay. Flossing can help remove virtually all of these stubborn food particles from between your teeth which will greatly minimize your chance of cavities.
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How To Floss

Flossing is a fairly easy task to complete, if your using traditional floss and not a floss pick, you will want to follow a these steps for the best results.

 

  1. Take the container of floss, and grab about 18 inches of floss from the container, you don’t need to measure it specifically, just make sure you get enough.
  2. Once you have the proper length of floss, wrap some around each of your index fingers, as shown in the picture above, this will give you grip to manipulate the floss effectively.
  3. Take one index finger and position it behind the tooth you want to floss, thread the gap with the floss and move it gently back and forth. Make sure to touch the sides of the tooth and the gums to get the best clean. Never use too much force while flossing as you may damage your gums or teeth.
  4. Move on to the next tooth and repeat the process until you have cleaned every tooth completely. You will want to use different parts of the floss as you do so to avoid the old food particles you have removed.

Using A Floss Pick

Floss picks are significantly easier to use then traditional floss. The pick already has floss on the handle ready and prepared for you to use. The increased dexterity can allow for easier cleaning of harder to reach teeth. If you have issues using standard floss, then picks are a valid, effective option

Frequently Asked Questions

As long as you are gentle, you can floss as often as you want! In the best case scenario, you should be doing it after every meal. This can also help get rid of bad breath (halitosis).

Yes, you need to floss at least as much as you brush, if not more so!

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