Do you know how to floss? Are you confident that you’re flossing correctly?
No visit to your dentist is complete without hearing the question, “Do you floss regularly?”.
We’re not here to judge your response, but we ARE here to make sure you’re confident about your oral health. Flossing is crucial to maintaining a healthy, happy mouth. There’s a reason we ask about your flossing habits every single visit. If you’re unsure about flossing or anxious from previous painful experiences – we’ll help you think gum-happy instead of gum-stabby!
Let’s break down the why’s and how’s of flossing to set you up for success.
Why should you floss?
Flossing is your biggest weapon against plaque. Plaque is sticky bacterial film that can cause a whole host of problems for your teeth. Plaque is the main culprit behind tooth decay, and can lead to developing periodontitis (gum disease) and bad breath. When plaque builds up and eventually hardens, it turns into tartar. Tartar is visible as a yellow or brown colored deposit on your teeth and is strongly bonded to the tooth’s enamel. Tartar can only removed by a dental professional – which unfortunately means an extra appointment on your already packed calendar!
Brushing helps clear plaque off the wider surfaces of your teeth, but your toothbrush can’t reach the small gaps near your gumline and between teeth. Floss to the rescue! Floss is able to clear plaque and food particles from those tight, almost invisible areas and prevent any build up.
Consistent flossing will reward you with healthier teeth and gums, plus better-smelling breath and a brighter smile!
Your Guide to Flossing
Do those rewards sound pretty amazing? We think so! If you are new to the process or want to brush up on your technique, follow these five easy steps:
Step One: Start with about 18 inches of floss. Wind the floss around each of your middle fingers, leaving about 1 – 2 inches of floss free to work with.
Step Two: Hold the floss tightly between your index fingers and thumbs, and gently slide it up and down between your teeth.
Step Three: Gently curve the floss in a c-shape around your tooth, under the gumline. Do not force the floss if you meet strong resistance, as this could tear the delicate gum tissue.
Step Four: Gently slide the floss down and away from the tooth to remove, and then repeat the process on the other side of the same tooth.
Step Five: Continue the above process for each tooth, making sure to use clean sections of floss as you move on.
When should you floss?
Flossing at least once a day is recommended. The important thing is to choose a time that works for you. The benefits of flossing come from doing it consistently, so build it into a natural part of your personal care routine.
Although you may choose to do it in the morning or evening, many people prefer to floss before bed to keep food particles from lingering overnight. If you are new to flossing or find it uncomfortable, flossing before bed could help you feel less rushed or distracted during the process. Another option is flossing after lunchtime. Once you are a practiced flosser, the process only takes a few minutes. Plus, it could save you from the awkwardness of a coworker pointing out that bit of lunch stuck in your teeth!
The power is in your hands!
You are in control of so much of your oral health. Let’s refresh on the basics of a proper oral hygiene routine (because no one has time for those extra appointments!):
- Brushing and flossing – better together. This power duo helps you clear plaque and food from your teeth, prevent tartar, freshen breath, and keep your smile bright. Brushing twice a day, and flossing at least once a day, will provide these benefits.
- Avoid sugary drinks and frequent snacking. Bacteria in the mouth uses sugar from food and drinks to produce acid, which then erodes tooth enamel. Limiting the amount of available sugar in your mouth, as well as the time between brushing and flossing, can help preserve the enamel of your teeth.
- Schedule regular appointments with your dentist! Your dentist is your partner in dental care, and adds the essential aspect of an oral exam and professional cleaning to your routine. Regular visits (approximately every 6 months) will support all the hard work you do at home.
If you are local to the Olathe, KS area we would love to work with you! Contact our office at 913-353-3695 or [email protected] to schedule an appointment today!