Flossing is an essential part of a good oral health care routine. Flossing at least once each day helps you to remove plaque from between your teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach and can also prevent gum disease and cavities.
Tips on flossing your teeth:
The most important thing about flossing is to do it. Pick a time of day when you can devote an extra couple of minutes to your oral hygiene. People who are too tired at the end of the day may benefit from flossing first thing in the morning or flossing after lunch.
Please don’t forget that children need to floss too! You should be flossing your child’s teeth as soon as he or she has two teeth that touch. Because flossing demands more manual dexterity than very young children have, children are not usually able to floss well by themselves until they are age 10 or 11.
Keep in mind that flossing should not be painful. You may feel discomfort when you first start flossing, but don’t give up. With daily brushing and flossing, that discomfort should ease within a week or two. If your pain persists, talk to your dentist.
If you find flossing difficult, consider a different flossing method. People who have difficulty handling dental floss may prefer to use another kind of interdental cleaner such as a wooden plaque remover, dental pick or a pre-threaded flosser. Ask our office how to use them properly to avoid injuring your gums. It also could be that you simply need to try another type of dental floss—waxed, unwaxed, thick or comfort floss. Stick with it and you’ll have adopted a healthy hobby for life.
How to properly floss your teeth:
|Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.|
|Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.|
|Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.|
|When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.|
|Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.|