Flossing every day is a necessary part of an effective oral health routine. Along with brushing, it is essential for preventing signs of gum disease by removing plaque and food bits from between your teeth and along the gum line. However, it is important that you use the right technique. Our guide can help get you started.
Flossing the Right Way
You can choose any dental floss you prefer, which may include unwaxed, waxed, dental tape or spongy floss. No matter your preference, as long as you use it the right way, it will meet your needs.
Using clean hands, wind approximately 20 inches of the floss around the index or middle finger of one hand and a shorter length around the index or middle finger of your other hand. Although the length of floss may seem excessive, you want to make sure that you have enough length to use a clean area of the floss after you clean each tooth.
Hold a one-to-two inch length of the floss taut between your index fingers and thumbs, using the index finger to manipulate the floss between your teeth. To clean your teeth effectively, move the floss in a zig-zag motion between your teeth, being careful not to allow the floss to snap too aggressively between the teeth. Be gentle as you near the gum line to avoid damaging your gums. For each tooth, continue to slide the floss over the side, back and front surfaces, using your thumb to guide the floss. Sliding the floss along all surfaces will remove the plaque deposits that cause cavities and gum disease. When you progress to the next tooth, roll the used section of floss onto the finger of one hand, while unraveling a clean section of the floss from one of your fingers on your other hand.
Using a Flosser
If you prefer, you can use a hand-held flosser using nearly the same technique. With the flosser held firmly between your fingers, angle the tip of the flosser towards the teeth you want to clean first. Gently move the floss between your teeth, taking care not to bruise the gum line. Move the floss in a zig-zag motion, bending the floss around each tooth and along all its surfaces.
Flossing Around Dental Work
Even if you have dental work like braces, bridges or dental implants, you will still be able to floss properly despite the presence of brackets and wires. All you will need is the right flossing aid or device, and a little bit of know-how from your dental team.
Orthodontic floss has a stiff end that allows it to be threaded under the archwire on braces. Floss threaders, flexible devices that have a loop on one end and a pick on the other, also allow you to thread your floss under the archwire. When the floss has been positioned past the wire, you can floss in the method used with conventional floss.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to properly floss and ways to keep your smile healthy, please contact us at Brewery District Dental to schedule an appointment.