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Flossing and brushing your teeth go hand in hand. A match made in dental heaven that’s designed to keep your smile healthy in the long term. There’s no doubt you’ve heard our Washington family dentist ask about your flossing habits so why not up your game?
Here are a few tips to help improve the way you floss and what products you can use if traditional floss isn’t getting the job done for you.
Why Flossing Matters
Many patients understand the importance of brushing your teeth but they neglect to also embrace the act of flossing. In fact, it’s estimated that about only 4 in 10 Americans floss every day. It is recommended that if you’re brushing at least twice a day, that you’re also flossing at least once.
So, why does using floss matter? Well, flossing helps to clean out and remove any food particles that become stuck in between your teeth. This then reduces how much bacteria and plaque form in, around, and on your teeth. In a nutshell, flossing is a beneficial oral hygiene habit that lowers your risk for developing cavities and gum disease.
Master the Technique (Follow These Steps)
Learning to floss is nothing complicated. However, most people think they’re using floss in the right way when in fact, they’re going too fast, being too rough, or missing spots. If done improperly, you can potentially damage your teeth and gums.
To make it easier, we’ve included a step-by-step guide below that you can follow once a day. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask our dentist or staff for guidance at your next teeth cleaning appointment.
Instructions for thorough flossing:
- Tear off about 18-24 inches of floss.
- Wrap most of the floss around both of your middle fingers, leaving about 1-2 inches for use on your teeth.
- Use your thumbs and index fingers to tightly hold the floss and place it between two teeth.
- Carefully and gently move the floss up and down to rub it against both sides of each tooth. Try not to glide the floss into your gums as this can cause scratching and bruising.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape once it reaches your gums so it hugs the base of your tooth. By doing this, you’re allowing the floss to enter the space between your gums and tooth.
- Repeat the above steps until you’ve finished flossing between every tooth (even behind your back molars!) and use a clean section of floss as you go.
Choose Quality Floss That Works For You
It is generally recommended that you floss first, then brush your teeth. But what type of floss should you use? There are 3 main types of floss to choose from and that includes standard floss, dental tape, and floss threaders.
As far as the 3 types of floss go, simply pick a quality product that feels the best. Dental tape is broader and flatter which is great if you have braces or larger gaps in between your teeth. Regular floss comes in waxed or woven versions and is a thin nylon strand.
Lastly, floss threaders can benefit patients with braces, dental bridges, and gaps. There are multiple components to a floss threader which includes:
- A stiffer end for making flossing underneath appliances easier
- Floss that’s spongy for cleaning around appliances, i.e., brackets and wires
- Regular floss for removing plaque underneath your gum line
Other Flossing Products You Can Use
Can’t get the hang of flossing or find it difficult due to arthritis or limited hand mobility? There are a few other tools you can use to get rid of plaque and leftover food bits. We’re mainly talking about water flossers and floss picks.
Electric water flossers are more on the expensive side but they’re great for patients who have trouble with standard floss. Water flossers use water and pressure to rinse away plaque and debris between teeth. This tool is also nice if you have braces! If you’re willing to invest, our dentist highly recommends a water flosser.
Floss picks, on the other hand, can be bought in bulk and are disposable after one full use. You can move them around your smile easily and have better luck reaching areas in the back of your mouth.
Schedule a Cleaning With Dr. Lesinski
Maintain a healthy smile with thorough flossing at least once a day. Combine the daily habit with regular brushing to remove plaque and impress our dentist in Washington, MI. Call Washington Family Dental today at (586) 752-4545 or contact us online to schedule your next appointment.