How To Floss Correctly – Try These Tips
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It seems no matter how hard we try, flossing is always at the end of our oral hygiene goals. The flossing videos on Tiktok have certainly increased awareness simply because of the nickname, but dental professionals spend countless hours educating about the importance of flossing.
Many people don’t realize that flossing is as important as brushing their teeth. If you just brush your teeth, you are actually missing about 40% of your teeth. This means that you have an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease because brushing alone cannot remove food and biofilm particles that contribute to oral health issues.
The bristles from the toothbrush cannot reach all the way between the teeth, making them vulnerable to toothless cavities. Flossing helps prevent more than just cavities, including:
- Prevents bad breath
- Reduces the risk of gum disease and tooth loss
- Reduces plaque levels
- Keep teeth whiter
If you are currently flossing, you want to make sure that you are flossing correctly so that you don’t injure your gums and can maintain good oral care habits for life.
There are many types of dental floss depending on your oral hygiene needs and preferences. If you find it difficult to use traditional dental floss, luckily there are plenty of options you can try until you find the one that’s right for you.
Regular dental floss is the most recognized type of dental floss, but surprisingly there are many different types of regular dental floss to suit your taste or texture preferences.
Floss can be flavored, contain fluoride, or be waxed or unwaxed. Some dental bristles are even coated with coconut oil to promote better oral health.
Depending on your preference, dental floss is economical, disposable, and if you don’t like the one you use, it’s simple to replace until you find the right type for you.
Toothpicks are a great option for people who have dexterity issues and use regular dental floss, such as young children or the elderly. Some people just prefer a toothpick because it is convenient to use with one hand and is easier to use than dental floss.
They work by moving in and out between the teeth to remove food and plaque debris. The only downside is that they don’t wrap completely around a tooth like regular dental floss to remove all debris.
An oral irrigator (also known as a water jet or Waterpik) is a popular flossing option that is beneficial for your gum health. It works by using a high pressure pulsation feature that pushes water through dental contacts to remove food and plaque particles.
A water jet can range from an affordable and simple device to more expensive, high-end devices that are used for travel and have more tip options.
Super dental floss is recommended for patients with braces or appliances such as bridges. It contains three parts that make it easier to floss with braces: a spongy area to help clean, a stiffer end for flossing under braces, and a regular end for cleaning under the gum tissue.
Interdental brushes are also called proxy brushes. They help remove debris that can be difficult for people with braces like braces to remove. They are a good supplement, but should not replace traditional dental floss or toothpicks.
Flossing is a seemingly simple technique, but sometimes it takes advice and practice to get it right. Here are the steps to follow to properly floss and improve your oral hygiene.
- Break about 18 inches or an arm’s length of dental floss
- Wrap the yarn around your two pointer fingers with about 1 inch of slack at each end
- Create a tight C shape around each tooth once you gently slide the dental floss between the teeth below the gum line
- Make sure you don’t press too hard below the gum line to cause bleeding or pain
Use a different, fresh piece of dental floss for the next tooth or rinse after each flossed tooth
- Stand in front of a mirror to see which area you need to work on.
- Show it to your dentist or dental hygienist on your next visit to make sure you are doing it correctly.
- The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day, but if you feel like you need to do more, go for it!
- Avoid toothpicks as they can cause damage and trauma to the gums.
- Use an ADA approved product as it has been found to be effective and safe.
- If your gums bleed when you floss for the first time (and you’re gentle), that doesn’t mean you need to stop. This is a sign of gingivitis and you should continue cleaning between your teeth until the bleeding stops after a week of regular flossing.
- Try different types of dental floss to see what works best.
Should you brush or floss first?
It’s an ongoing controversy, but current research shows that you should floss and then brush your teeth.
This is because flossing helps remove food and plaque left between the teeth, and then brushing your teeth can remove these particles.
You can floss anytime that’s convenient for you, but many people choose to floss after meals or in the morning or evening before brushing.
Flossing is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do for your oral health to prevent long term dental problems. If you’re just starting to floss, don’t be frustrated. Instead, work on different techniques and types of dental floss that work best for you. If you are a seasoned flosser, keep in the habit of enjoying a life of healthy, vibrant smiles.
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