How to floss your teeth the right way
Good oral hygiene goes further than just brushing your teeth. Daily flossing is a crucial part of maintaining good oral health, preventing gum disease and tooth decay. As well as daily flossing, it’s important to use proper technique to rid your mouth of plaque in all those hard-to-reach areas.
Why floss every day
Flossing every day is an essential part of looking after your teeth. Yet, despite being an easy task, many people overlook the importance of flossing and don’t include it in their daily routine. In fact, over 80% of kiwis don’t floss every day which means plaque and food debris could be building up in their mouths. Adding flossing to your daily routine has many benefits including:
Removing plaque and food particles: Brushing your teeth only cleans some of the surfaces in your mouth, leaving the spaces between your teeth uncleaned. Flossing allows you to reach these areas and remove plaque and food particles that can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
Preventing gum disease: Plaque that isn’t removed by brushing and flossing can harden into tartar which can lead to gum disease. Flossing daily helps to remove this plaque as well as food particles that are stuck between your teeth. With plaque removed from these hard-to-clean places, you’re less at risk of developing gum disease.
Improving oral hygiene: Regular flossing helps to keep your mouth fresh and clean, and it helps to prevent bad breath caused by food particles and bacteria.
Increasing lifespan of your teeth: Regular flossing can help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, which can ultimately extend the lifespan of your teeth.
Supporting overall health: Maintaining good oral health is crucial for overall health. Studies have shown a link between oral health and other health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. By flossing daily, you can help to prevent oral health problems that could potentially impact your overall health.
Flossing your teeth every day has lots of health benefits. However, not everyone knows how to floss effectively. Follow these tips to get the most out of your flossing routine.
How to get the most out of flossing
Choose the right type of floss: Floss comes in many different types, including waxed and unwaxed, flavoured and unflavoured, and dental tape. Choose a floss that feels comfortable on your gums. If you don’t floss often you may want to choose a floss with a flat rather than rounded tape shape. This can make flossing against your gums more comfortable and reduce bleeding.
Floss at a time that works for you: Flossing should become a part of your daily routine. Flossing before or after brushing your teeth is the easiest way to incorporate it into your routine. If you usually rush through your morning routine, schedule your daily floss in the evening. That way you won’t be tempted to skip this important step.
Use the correct technique: Hold the floss taut between your thumbs and index fingers, and gently slide it up and down between each tooth, being careful not to damage the gum tissue. Move the floss in a “C” shape around the base of each tooth, making sure to reach the gum line. Repeat this with each tooth, using a fresh section of floss.
Be gentle: Being gentle when flossing will avoid damage to your gums. Use a light pressure when guiding the floss between your teeth, and curve it gently around each tooth, taking care not to force it or snap it into your gums.
Don’t be afraid to use enough floss: Using too little floss will not effectively remove plaque and food particles. Aim to use about 30 centimetres of floss for each session.
Don’t forget the back teeth: Many people don’t floss their back teeth, but they are just as important as the front teeth. Use the same technique to floss between your back teeth, being careful not to miss any spots.
Rinse and repeat: After you’ve finished flossing, rinse your mouth with water to remove any remaining food particles or bacteria. Then, repeat the process on the other side of your mouth.
Make flossing a habit: Consistency is key when it comes to flossing. Make sure to floss every day and set aside a few minutes each day to focus on your oral hygiene routine.
How to floss if you have braces
Looking after your teeth when you have braces is important as food can get trapped more easily between the brackets and wires in your mouth. It’s not impossible to floss with regular floss when you have braces, however there are some products that make flossing easier.
Dental superfloss is a thicker spongy type of floss that is designed for slipping between braces or under a dental bar on the back of your teeth. Rather than coming in a single continuous spool, super floss is cut into separate strands and each strand has two stiff ends. These thin hard plastic ends make it easy to slip the super floss through a gap in your teeth or behind the wire of your braces. Once you have threaded the floss through you can floss as normal.
Interdental brushes are good for getting rid of food and plaque from between teeth, whether or not you have braces. These small brushes have a bristled head designed to fit between the small gaps between teeth.
Flossing is an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene. By taking the time to floss properly, you can remove food particles and bacteria from between your teeth and gums, prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Flossing signs you should see your dentist
While you are flossing look out for any of these symptoms.
Bleeding gums: If you haven’t flossed for a while, the pressure of the floss on your gums could make your gums bleed. If your gums look inflamed, bleed for more than a few days after you begin flossing or your gums are tender, this could be a sign of gum disease.
Shredded floss: When you are flossing, the string should glide between your teeth. If you find the floss is ripped when you floss it could be catching on something between your teeth. You could have a cracked tooth or a broken crown and not know it.
Tooth pain: If you are experiencing regular pain next to a specific tooth when you floss it could be a sign of a bigger problem. Tooth decay or loose fillings can cause pain when you floss.
A bad smell or taste: If you haven’t flossed for a while, it’s normal for the plaque or food particles to smell. If you’re flossing regularly and notice a bad smell, it could be a sign of tooth decay.
If you notice any of these problems when flossing regularly, book a dental appointment with Gentle Dental. Experience the technology, expertise and gentle approach of the best dentists in Wellington. Book an appointment today.