Do you floss every day? Many people say they do but rarely perform this important task.
Approximately 37% of people report less than daily flossing while another 32% admit they never floss at all. And 27% of adults say they lie to their dentists about their flossing habits. But skipping this task leaves almost half the surface of your teeth vulnerable to decay.
Flossing is the best way to remove harmful bacteria and food debris in hard-to-reach areas that your toothbrush can’t get to. Along with twice-a-day brushing, flossing each day helps prevent the development of plaque, a sticky, destructive film that forms when bacteria and food debris stay on your teeth.
Dr. Ana M. Chester and our Chester Family Dentistry team can provide the expert guidance you need on the benefits of flossing and how to do it right. And, based on a thorough dental exam, we can identify trouble spots and help you learn the correct way to floss.
Floss with confidence to reduce your risk of tooth loss and periodontal (gum) disease and to also avoid the need for costly and time-consuming dental repairs. And you’ll never have to lie about your flossing habits again!
Why flossing matters
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing at least once a day. You can floss at any time of day, morning, noon, or night. However, flossing before brushing ensures that loosened debris gets cleaned from your mouth. Many people prefer flossing before bedtime to avoid leaving plaque to sit on their teeth overnight.
No matter when you floss, choose a time when you can devote a few extra minutes to your oral hygiene so you’re not rushing your technique.
Next, choose the type of dental floss that feels comfortable to manage. Your options include unwaxed floss, waxed floss, dental tape (flatter and broader than traditional dental floss), and super floss (with different textures that are useful when you have bridges, braces, or other dental appliances).
All dental floss varieties typically come in flavored options, too, which helps freshen breath and makes flossing more enjoyable.
Floss like a pro
Once you have your floss, follow these steps for the best results:
- Only floss in a well-lit area, ideally with a mirror to watch for proper positioning
- Start with 18-24 inches of floss and wrap most of the strand around both middle fingers, leaving approximately 1-2 inches in the middle for use
- Hold the floss taut between your index fingers and thumbs, and then gently slide it between your teeth (Note: Don’t yank or snap the floss to force it into this space because you risk cutting or bruising your gum tissue.)
- At the base of each tooth, wrap the dental floss into a C-shape at the gumline and gently move it up and down to clean the tooth where it meets your gums
- Replace used dental floss with fresh sections as you move to different areas of your mouth by unwinding clean sections from one finger and winding up the used portion onto the other finger
- Repeat for all teeth on both lower and upper arches
Remember, when you start a flossing routine, you may experience minor discomfort. However, proper dental flossing shouldn’t cause pain.
Dental floss isn’t your only option
Do you hate using traditional dental floss? You can still protect your teeth with these effective alternatives to dental floss.
This is a tiny, cone-shaped brush on a thin wire, similar to a pipe cleaner. You can insert the brush between your teeth and use it to scrub back and forth to remove plaque.
Pre-threaded flossers have a handle that holds the floss, making it easier to work around your teeth and gums without it slipping from your hands and to reach areas in the back of your mouth. Simply use the same technique as traditional floss, moving it up and down at the gumline, but hold the convenient handle instead.
These handy appliances use a steady stream of water to force plaque and debris out from between teeth. The added bonus? They’re especially helpful with hard-to-reach back teeth.
Don’t skip your professional cleanings
Flossing and brushing each day is essential, but you still need regular routine dental cleanings. During these visits, our team can clean areas you may have missed, check up on your oral health, and identify early signs of gum disease.
This routine care can help prevent gum disease before it causes complex problems.
Are you due for a cleaning, or do you need to brush up on your flossing technique? Call Chester Family Dentistry in Warren, Ohio, at 330-331-9026 to make a dental appointment today.