It is well established that flossing is an important part of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. But it is also a habit that is often overlooked until it is time to visit your dentist. Making flossing a part of your daily routine can help ward off cavities and other oral health issues.
Continue reading to learn more about when, and how to floss, as well as its benefits. If you have any questions, contact Columbia Smiles today to schedule an appointment for a cleaning or periodontal disease treatment.
When Should You Floss?
Not sure how often you need to floss? The American Dental Association recommends flossing once a day. You can decide whether it fits into your schedule better in the morning or in the evening, as there’s no real benefit to doing it at one time over the other. Additionally, you can floss before or after brushing your teeth, depending on what you prefer. Flossing first can dislodge plaque and food particles that then can be brushed away. However, if you would rather floss second, you’ll still reap all the benefits of this oral hygiene practice.
If you want to floss twice a day, there are no downsides. Just be sure to be gentle around your gums. If you have food in between your teeth after eating, flossing is a good aid for dislodging the particulate.
How Flossing Promotes Healthy Teeth and Gums
Flossing your teeth removes food particles and plaque from hard-to-reach areas between the teeth. There are many areas in your mouth that your toothbrush isn’t able to reach. Plaque and bacteria can eat away at your enamel and, over time, cause tooth decay. The resulting cavities from tooth decay can require fillings, root canals, and other treatments.
Plaque can harden on the teeth as well, turning into tartar. This can cause gum disease, which is characterized by inflammation in the gums. Flossing can prevent tartar and keep you from needing periodontal treatments.
Not sure if you’re flossing correctly? Follow the tips below to get the most out of flossing every time.
- Break off a piece of floss about 18 to 24 inches long. Alternatively, you can use a pre-threaded flosser.
- Wind the floss around your middle fingers with a couple inches in between. Hold it taut with your thumbs and index fingers.
- Place the floss in between two teeth, but take care to not snap it in between tight teeth. Instead, glide it up and down. Be sure to rub the floss against the sides of both teeth.
- Avoid pushing the floss up into your gums, which can cause irritation.
- Create a “C” shape when flossing close to your gums to try to clean the space between your teeth and gums.
- Repeat this step in between each tooth. You can use a clean section of floss for each tooth, or if you’re using a pre-threaded flosser, you can quickly rinse it off.
For some individuals, dental tape, water flossers, or air picks are the best choice. Talk to your dentist about these options especially if you have crowns or veneers. They can recommend a flossing alternative that will work best for you.
Contact Columbia Smiles Today
At Columbia Smiles, we’ve helped Howard County residents keep their teeth and gums healthy for over 35 years. If you’re due for a regular cleaning, want to talk about cosmetic dentistry services, or are experiencing pain or sensitivity, make an appointment today. Our team will help you achieve the smile of your dreams. We also understand the anxiety that some individuals feel about dentist appointments and do everything we can to relieve their anxiety.