Proper Flossing Technique
Flossing is a vital aspect of good dental hygiene. It doesn’t matter how well you brush the surface and sides of your teeth -- if you’re not reaching between each one with dental floss, your teeth and gums are vulnerable to the bacteria buildup that causes bad breath and tooth decay. Many of our patients have questions when it comes to flossing. If you’ve ever wondered if you’re flossing correctly, or how to develop a flossing habit, your dentist in Columbia answers these and other questions below.
Why Flossing Is Important
Toothbrushes are good for cleaning the visible surface of your teeth, but no matter what their ads say, no toothbrush can reach between the teeth. When the plaque and bacteria that build up here aren’t thoroughly removed every day, they quickly turn to tartar -- a hard substance that can only be removed by a professional. Plaque and tartar both lead to cavities and gum disease, the number one cause of tooth loss in adults over the age of 35.
How to Floss Properly
Bad flossing form can sometimes do you more harm than good. As with all things related to your teeth and gums, remember gentle is best -- rapid up and down movements through the teeth can cause cuts and bleeding in your gums.
Here’s how to floss the right way.
- Wrap about 18 inches of floss between each of your middle fingers
- Gently work a small section of floss between your teeth
- Rub the floss up and down several times to clean the sides of the tooth
- Work the floss in a C shape around the gum line
- Repeat between each tooth, using a new section of floss every time
The thriftiest flossers may find it tempting to recycle their strands of floss, but it’s important to use a new thread every time to avoid reintroducing bacteria into the mouth.
How to Develop a Flossing Habit
Most adults know they should be flossing every day, but have a hard time simply remembering to do it. But just like exercise or healthy eating, regular flossing requires habit-forming. And how do you develop a habit? With a little commitment, and by triggering the action every evening. Place the box of floss somewhere you’ll see it every night, like beside the bathroom faucet -- and don’t consider your oral hygiene routine complete until you’ve flossed.
What Type of Floss to Use
You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to the type of floss to use -- waxed or unwaxed, cinnamon or plain, ribbon or… you get the picture. But the kind of floss you choose doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re using it every day. One thing to note, however, is that those pre-threaded flossers may not be as effective as regular floss. Their small surface can result in redistribution of bacteria throughout the mouth.
Questions about flossing, or anything else related to your dental health? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Columbia dentist at Beck Dental Care. And don’t forget that good brushing and flossing should be combined with regular checkups and cleanings for the prevention of cavities and gum disease. Contact our office to request your appointment today!