The Importance of Flossing
People who floss every day are taking a significant step in keeping their teeth clean and healthy.
Most people either forget about flossing or put it low on their list of priorities because they are unaware of the importance to your overall health, but periodontal disease and many cavities start between the teeth where the bristles of your toothbrush simply cannot reach. That is why flossing is necessary for removing the plaque and bacteria that cause these dental diseases.
What is Dental Floss?
Floss, which is commonly made out of plastic or nylon, is a thin thread that you place between your teeth and pull in order to clean the gaps between your teeth. When you gently pull on the thread, you should remove any food particles that were left behind after eating.
Although dental floss uses some type of thread or ribbon, they are offered in a variety of styles, materials, and even flavors.
Pull out about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving about a 5-inch span of floss between your fingers. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers, leaving about 1 inch to work with.
Using a gentle side-to-side motion, gently guide the floss between the teeth. Pull the floss tightly in a C-shape around the side of the tooth and slide the floss under the gumline.
Move the floss up and down several times to remove all the food and bacteria. Then pull the floss around the neighboring tooth and repeat the process. Wind the floss to a fresh section and gradually work your way around your mouth. Make sure to floss on both sides of every tooth.
How to Solve Flossing Problems
If your gums are infected, they will bleed when you floss. That is to be expected if you are just beginning to floss. After a week or so of regular flossing, the bleeding should stop. Some dentist may suggest that you use dental ribbon to help with the aching or bleeding. Ribbon floss can be more comfortable than traditional floss, especially for those you have issues with sensitive gums.
If you have problems reaching some areas, you may want to use a floss fork, a floss pick, or other flossing aids.
Tell your dentist if your teeth are too tight to floss or if the floss catches or tears. This indicates that there may be additional problems in your mouth that need to be looked at. If you have any questions about your flossing, call your dentist. They will be happy to recommend the best floss for you and offer tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy.