Brushing and flossing are the two main pillars of good oral care. When you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily, you get rid of leftover food particles and plaque in your mouth that can cause cavities, bad breath and other dental problems.
But no matter how consistent you are with your brushing and flossing schedule, you won’t be able to remove all the food debris and plaque if you don’t go through the motions properly. Flossing, in particular, has to be done correctly since this practice ensures that the hard-to-brush areas in your mouth (in-between the teeth and gum line) remain clean and debris-free.
If you want to know how to floss correctly, below is a simple step-by-step guide:
- Get a piece of floss about 18 to 20 inches long or about the length between the tips of your fingers and your elbow. Wrap the floss around your index and middle fingers on both hands, leaving about one or two inches between your hands to work with.
- Gently slide the floss in between two teeth. Wrap it around one of the teeth into a ‘C’ shape around the base and carefully slide it under the gum line. Using the floss, wipe the tooth two to three times from base to tip.
- While flossing, do not snap or force the floss since this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue.
- Make sure you floss all the sides of each tooth. Always use a clean section of the floss for each tooth to avoid spreading debris and bacteria around your mouth.
- Remove the floss by using the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from your teeth.
A dentist in Sterling Heights, MI adds some additional tips below for better, more effective flossing:
- As much as possible, floss in the evening, before going to sleep, so that the plaque between your teeth does not have all night to fester and spread.
- It is best to brush your teeth after flossing. This is because brushing after flossing helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- Do not focus on removing any food stuck between your teeth only. To reap all the benefits of flossing, you have to remove plaque from your teeth as well. This means scraping the tooth’s surface up and down two or three times, moving gently below the gum line and on both sides of each tooth.
- Although you need to floss gently, you still need to put sufficient pressure to remove plaque. You can do this by pressing firmly against the tooth while moving gently and slowly when guiding the floss under the gum line.
When you floss properly, you’ll always have cleaner, healthier teeth. As such, take the time to learn the correct steps. Also, ask your dentist for additional advice and tips to be sure you will gain the health benefits this oral hygiene practice has to offer.