How to Properly Floss

how to floss

In order to ensure your teeth remain strong and healthy, you should endeavor to floss every day. Dental floss can remove food particles and plaque from places around your teeth that a toothbrush alone cannot reach. Periodontal disease and tooth decay tend to begin from hidden areas around teeth such as where the gums connect to the tooth.

As such, one ought to learn how to floss properly so that one can adequately clean these difficult to reach areas. One should first begin by taking out roughly 18 inches (45 cm) of floss, as that is a good length for you to wrap your fingers around and still have enough string remaining to floss with.

Next, wrap the floss on the middle fingers (and index fingers if you wish) and leave a small section of floss between the fingers that you can then floss with. Manipulate the string between two teeth and perform a gentle back and forth motion.

The string should be brought as low as the gum lines, but refrain from forcing it down any further as that can cause gum damage. Keep the floss in a “C” shape on the side of a tooth and keep performing the sawing motion. This should be performed on each tooth.

Remember to floss in the other direction as well. For each tooth, use an unused section of the floss so as not to spread bacteria and to ensure the floss does not shred. Once you are done flossing, rinse the mouth thoroughly using water to shake off any remaining food particles in your mouth.

You should floss a minimum of once a day, put preferably one should floss after each meal. Dentists recommend their patients use unwaxed floss since they are thinner and will have less resistance when sliding between teeth.

Once an individual has developed a good habit of flossing daily, they will no longer have issues like bleeding gums. Someone just getting into it may bleed slightly, but unless this happens each and every time (in which case go see the dentist), it should quickly stop being an issue.

One should learn proper flossing technique since relying on brushing alone is not sufficient in maintaining good oral hygiene. There will still be some lingering plaque and food particles that will cause gum disease and tooth decay.

If left untreated, plaque will harden and become tartar. Once tartar is formed, only a dental professional can safely remove it. If a person knows how to properly floss, plaque will never get a chance to harden and become tartar.

In order to learn proper technique, one will need persistence and practice. If you are unsure of how to floss, ask your dentist to demonstrate on a model of teeth. This way, being able to visually see and understand the best flossing technique will aid them in learning how to do it themselves.

If an individual flosses only once a day, then the best time would be right before going to bed, since nighttime is when plaque is actively creating cavity-producing acid in one’s mouth.

Photo Credit: olivergriffel

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