“Are you flossing?”
Most likely, this is a question you are asked at every routine dental cleaning and dental visit. As irritating as it may be, it is important to answer honestly! Whether you choose to answer the question honestly or not, your dental hygienist or dentist will be able to tell the truth since the gums typically do not lie. For example, a patient with excessive bleeding of the gums while a hygienist is probing or flossing can be an indicator of inadequate flossing.
In fact, flossing regularly is essential for your oral health. By flossing at least once a day, the risk of cavities between the teeth is greatly reduced. Floss, which cleans between the teeth, helps to remove the plaque and break up any debris between the teeth in areas where a toothbrush simply cannot reach. As a whole, for flossing to be effective you must ensure that you are doing it correctly! Most importantly, the key is to take your time.
Proper Flossing Technique:
To ensure that you are flossing properly, try the following steps:
1) Break off a piece of floss about 18 inches in length. Wind most of the floss around one of your middle fingers and the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand.
2) Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. You should feel some tension in the floss.
3) Gently, guide the floss in-between the teeth. Do not force the floss directly in the gums as this could cause potential damage.
4) When the floss reaches the gum line, make a C shape against one tooth in-between the space of the gum and tooth. Hold the floss tightly and rub the floss up and down. Make a C shape with the floss again and do this to the other tooth that the floss is in-between.
5) Continue to make C shapes with the floss and move up and down until all teeth have been flossed. Do not forget the very back of your last teeth!
6) When you are completely finished, flow the floss away. Floss should not be reused because it could potentially leave bacteria in the mouth.
If you are not someone who particularly likes to floss or believe it takes up too much time, consider the factors. It is much easier to act now and begin flossing, rather than to wind up with a cavity between the teeth later.
If you’d like to learn more about flossing or what kinds of floss may be beneficial for you, talk with a dentist!