We hear all the time how we should floss our teeth, but is flossing really important? The answer is YES! Failing to floss leaves 35 percent of the tooth surface unclean. Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between teeth and under the gumline. These are cavity-prone areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. Plaque build-up under the gumline can result in irritation and, eventually, disease. For a healthy and beautiful smile, you should brush at least twice and floss at least once each day. But it isn’t enough just to floss, you need to do it right! Here are some flossing tips to help you floss effectively.
Wrap an 18-inch strand of floss around your middle fingers and hold a one inch section between your thumbs and forefingers. Ease the floss between the teeth and slide it gently up and down using a gentle rubbing motion. Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. To remove the floss, use the same back and forth motion to bring the floss away from the tooth. Never snap or force the floss or you may bruise the delicate gum tissue. Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth. Don’t forget to floss behind the last tooth. Always rinse your teeth to wash away food or other particles that you have removed. Use a floss threader to help guide floss between braces or under the archwire.
When picking out floss, you can choose either the nylon or the PTFE floss. Nylon is available in waxed and unwaxed and also comes in a wide variety of flavors. This type of floss is made of many strands of nylon, allowing it to tear or shred during flossing. Single filament or PTFE floss slides easily between teeth and is virtually shred-resistant but is more expensive. Whichever type of floss you choose, you will be removing plaque and debris when flossing correctly. When you first begin to floss, your gums may bleed or become sore during the first few days. This should stop after a few days, however, if bleeding continues, see your dentist.
Regular dental care is important for good oral health. It is not only critical that your brush and floss every day, but you should also visit your dentist at least twice a year. If you are experiencing any pain, bleeding from the gums or other problems, don’t be afraid to talk to your dentist about it at your next visit. If you are experience severe pain, call your dentist immediately.