How to Floss Correctly

Even though may already be flossing twice daily as recommended by your dental provider, you may not be doing enough to fend off tooth decay and gum disease. Although brushing is a vital part of your oral hygiene regimen, flossing between your teeth is equally important. Brushing can only removes those particles of plaque-forming bacteria that are easiest to reach.

This bacteria, combined with saliva and food particles, creates plaque. Plaque is a sticky but clear and colorless substance that attaches to your teeth. In plaque, the bacteria finds fertile environment to begin to eat away at your tooth enamel which eventually leads to cavities.

Why Is Flossing So Important?

This where flossing can make all the difference since it removes the plaque that your toothbrush can’t easily reach in places like between your teeth. However, it is very important that you are effectively flossing to gain the maximum benefits. As the old saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Flossing is that ounce of prevention that can help you to avoid painful, time-consuming and potentially costly dental procedures that can become necessary when tooth decay is allowed to start unchecked between teeth.

How to Floss Correctly

1. Wrap around your middle fingers a length of floss about eighteen inches long. Use your thumbs and forefingers to move the floss. You should wind more around one finger than the other so you can wind the already used floss toward the finger with less floss wrapped around it and access a fresh length.

2. Push the floss between two teeth and use a gentle “sawing” (back and forth) motion all the way from the top of the teeth down to their base where they erupt from your gums.

3. Wrap the floss around the side of one tooth in a “U” shape then gently slide up and down your tooth. Repeat this several times, making sure to go slightly underneath the gum-line, then repeat on the other side of the tooth. Do this for each tooth.

4. Again be sure to wind up the floss around your finger so you’re using a clean length of floss for each space between your teeth that you floss. Bacteria that has been removed on floss can linger and make you sick if reintroduced later

5. Don’t worry too much if you see that your gums are bleeding as you floss. A little bleeding is perfectly normal if you don’t floss regularly. This bleeding is due to inflammation caused by the bacteria dwelling there. If you floss daily as recommended by your dentist, you should see an improvement in the health of gums in one to two weeks.

Floss Picks Are Less Effective Than You Think

Some patients gravitate to the floss picks widely available in retail stores.  These “Y” shaped pieces of plastic with floss strung between the “arms” of the “Y” are not preferred by dentists, however. Most dentists still would prefer we  a length of “free” floss and your hands. Floss picks don’t allow for proper flossing due to the fact that you cannot wrap them around a tooth in the “U” shape recommended. However, it’s still better than not flossing at all.

Schedule An Appointment With Your Dentist

Most dentists agree that flossing after your brush is most effective as there will already be less plaque and food particles to get stuck on the floss.  If you have any additional questions about brushing, flossing or your oral health, call (703) 938-3405 or schedule an appointment online with Oakton Dental Center in Oakton, CA today.

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