Be honest: are you brushing and flossing every day as part of complete dental health regimen? Your dentist knows! Despite decades of research indicating the benefits and necessity of regular tooth flossing for optimal dental health, many patients stop at brushing when it comes to their at-home dental care.
This is sometimes due to a lack of knowledge or motivation, so let’s start with one shocking fact about flossing: Flossing is the most effective at-home method one can undertake in preventing gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. These gum infections begin to form at the gum line and between teeth, the major areas flossing addresses and which a toothbrush just can’t get to completely.
Because several studies have linked gum disease to diseases of the heart, blood, kidneys, and other organs, the importance of flossing goes far beyond the health and appearance of your teeth. With this in mind, we hope you’re ready to commit to regular flossing between dental checkups, but in order to really experience the benefits of flossing your teeth, proper technique is essential.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association instructs patients to floss their teeth by following a series of four simple steps.
1. WIND about 18 inches of floss around the middle or index fingers on each of your hands and hold the floss in place by pinching it between the thumb and index finger on each hand. You should have about two inches of floss stretched taut to use for cleaning between and around your teeth.
2. GUIDE the floss with your index fingers between contacts of each pair of lower teeth.
3. GLIDE the dental floss gently between the teeth in a slow zigzag motion. Don’t snap or jerk the floss– if the space between your teeth is tight, work slowly to avoid injuring your gums.
4. SLIDE the floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line of each tooth. Wind and unwind the floss to move to a new length of it whenever your current length gets frayed or dirty. This is particularly important if you notice a lot of debris being pulled from between your teeth, or sensitivity and/or bleeding in your gums. Make sure you floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.
This simple technique will work effectively with any brand or type of floss including waxed floss, unwaxed floss, sponge floss, or dental tape, so use whatever you like best. It doesn’t matter whether you start with your upper or lower teeth, or whether you start in the front or the back, as long as you remember to floss your entire set of teeth in the process. Back teeth to tend to collect more debris, so many people prefer to floss them last to avoid dragging food particles and bacteria into the spaces between cleaner front teeth. Don’t forget to floss under the gum line and along the sides of teeth that border any spaces where teeth are missing.
Now that you know the benefits and procedures for proper flossing, you can begin a routine that will improve your overall health and preserve your healthy smiles for years to come!
Regular brushing and flossing will make your dental checkups go a lot more smoothly. If you’re due for your dental checkup and cleaning, contact Infinite Dental Wellness to make an appointment today.