Flossing your teeth is an important part of maintaining your dental health. Dentists recommend flossing daily to remove plaque from the spaces between your teeth and along your gum line. Yet this is often the most neglected part of people’s oral hygiene routine.
If you’re just getting started with flossing, or if you haven’t done it in a while, you may be wondering how to do it properly. Here’s your complete guide to flossing your teeth.
Choose the Right Type of Floss for You
There are different types of floss on the market, and choosing the right one can make flossing easier and more effective.
- String floss. The most basic type of floss is string floss, otherwise known as thread floss. The unwaxed type may unravel as you use it and is more likely to tear.
- Waxed floss. String floss can be coated with wax to prevent unraveling and to make it thicker. Waxed floss is the most common type of floss.
- Tape floss. Tape floss is wider and flat like tape. It helps to reach wider spaces between your teeth.
- Superfloss. Superfloss is spongy and has reinforced ends that make it easier to thread under braces wires and around dental prosthetics.
- Flossers. Stick flossers or plastic flossers have a thread that stretches across a u-shaped piece of plastic. Flossers are often easier to use for some patients, especially children. However, most dentists feel that they are not as effective as string floss because they don’t wrap around the teeth the way floss can.
How Often to Floss
Dentists and dental experts recommend flossing your teeth once a day, making sure to get in between all of your teeth. By flossing once a day you remove a large portion of the food particles and plaque that settle between your teeth. This can help to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Flossing Techniques: Step by Step
How you floss also matters. There are techniques that make flossing more effective at removing plaque from between the teeth and along the gumline.
- Break off a piece of floss that is at least 18 inches long.
- Wrap the floss around your middle fingers and ring fingers on each hand with between 1-2 inches between.
- Using your forefinger to guide the floss, slide it in between each tooth.
- Wrap the floss slightly around each tooth as you slide it up and down. This allows the floss to get down into the pocket between the tooth and gums.
- Use a clean part of the floss for each tooth.
- Discard used floss and get a fresh piece each day.
Benefits of Flossing Daily
There are many benefits that come from daily flossing:
- Prevent gum disease. Flossing daily removes plaque that causes gum disease. It also helps strengthen your gums so that they are more resistant to bacterial infection.
- Prevent tooth decay. Flossing helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth and along the gumline.
- Fresher breath. Flossing helps keep your breath fresh by reducing the amount of bacteria between your teeth.
- Less scraping at the dentist. When you floss daily you have a lot less plaque and tartar on your teeth when you go to the dentist, which means less scraping and a shorter visit.
- Better overall health and wellness. Oral health is tied to a variety of health conditions and illnesses. The healthier your mouth, the healthier you will bet in general. Good oral health also allows you to eat a more nutritious diet with a greater variety of foods.
Learn About Oral Care From Lane Family Dentistry
When you come to Lane Family Dentistry, we provide instruction for proper flossing technique. From young children to adults who need a refresher, we can show you how to take care of your teeth at home for better oral health. Families who prioritize dental health together will have many generations with healthy teeth and mouths.