Flossing every day is one of the most important dental habits you can have. It removes food that becomes lodged between your teeth and aids in cleaning your mouth. This habit also reduces the amount of plaque and bacteria buildup. Both may accumulate on your teeth, contributing to gum disease and cavities. Many people do not know how to floss correctly. To learn more about flossing and other important dental hygiene habits, contact Columbia Smiles today.
Why You Should Know How to Floss
Most people in the United States brush their teeth every day. However, not nearly as many people floss as often as they brush. In fact, only 40% of Americans floss daily, and 20% never bother flossing at all.
If you floss daily, or are considering making flossing a habit, it is vital you learn proper flossing methods. Flossing incorrectly can damage your gums and teeth. Keeping this in mind, proper flossing will ensure your continued oral health, while mitigating damaging risk factors associated with improper techniques.
How to Floss
The first thing you need to do is break off a length of dental floss. Most dental professionals suggest between 18 to 24 inches. Hold the floss by winding most of the length around your middle fingers. You should, ideally, leave only about an inch or two to use between your teeth.
Next, pull the floss taut using your index finger and thumbs. Insert the dental floss between two of your teeth. Slide the floss up and down against both sides of your teeth. Make sure that you don’t force the floss into your gums, as this may bruise, scratch, or cut the soft tissue. Instead, when it reaches your gums, curve the floss to form a C around the tooth. Doing so will allow the floss to go into the space between your tooth and gum.
Repeat these steps as you go from tooth to tooth. Make sure that you use a clean section of floss with every tooth.
Most dentists recommend that you floss before you brush your teeth. This sequence allows you to remove food particles from between your teeth so that after you brush, all debris is eliminated as you spit. If you do it the other way around, plaque and food may stay in your mouth until you brush your teeth again. It’s essential to floss at least once a day and brush twice every day. If you have frequent meals, you may need to brush and floss more than that.
What Kind of Floss Should I Use?
There is no perfect answer to this question. There are many varieties of dental floss, and which type you should use depends on your preferences. Some types of floss are easier to use in wide spaces, while others are more manageable in tighter situations. You can ask the dental experts at Columbia Smiles about the type of floss you should use. Your options include:
- Dental tape
- Standard floss
- Super floss
You may also choose to use a Waterpik or other emerging methods. The type of floss that you want to use is not as important as ensuring that you know how to floss and do so daily.
Learn More at Columbia Smiles
At Columbia Smiles, we are focused on making sure that your dental health is in the best possible condition. Our services include:
- Periodontal treatment
- Crowns and bridges
- Wisdom teeth extraction
- Dental implants