It seems that everyone has an excuse for why they don’t floss, even though it is something the dentist always asks about.
In fact, only 4 out of 10 people floss daily, and 20% of people say they don’t floss at all. But flossing teeth should be right up there with brushing teeth in order to maintain a healthy mouth.
Here are our best tips on flossing teeth in order to maintain and improve your oral hygiene.
Why Is Flossing Teeth Important?
Before we get into the tips for flossing teeth, you need some motivation to actually do it.
Poor dental hygiene, including not flossing, has been linked to numerous ailments and diseases including gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, bad breath, dementia, and even cancer!
Learn How to Floss Correctly
Now that you have some motivation to start flossing, you need to know how to floss correctly!
Many people make the mistake of just taking the floss and pushing it in and out of the spaces between their teeth.
This won’t actually do much.
When you push the floss between your teeth, you should use a rubbing motion against each tooth in order to effectively clean them.
Once you reach your gum, make a “C” shape with the floss and pull the floss up and down maintaining that “C” shape.
As you repeat this process on each tooth, try to use either entirely new or at least new sections of the floss to avoid spreading plaque or food particles.
Don’t Forget the Back!
The teeth in the back of your mouth can be harder to reach, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard them!
You should be sure to floss every tooth when flossing teeth, not just the easy to reach ones.
If you’re having trouble reaching those back teeth, try using floss picks instead of string floss. Floss picks are tiny, disposable, pre-threaded floss holders that can more easily reach the back teeth.
Not Too Hard, Not Too Soft
While you want to make sure to be thorough, you also want to make sure you are using the correct pressure.
You shouldn’t be flossing super hard and rough, as this can damage your gums and the tissue between your teeth. But if you floss too gently, then you probably aren’t removing and food or plaque that is stuck between your teeth.
Try to find that perfect in between: not too hard, but not too soft either.
If you haven’t flossed in a while, it might be slightly uncomfortable, and you might even experience a little bleeding. This is normal, so don’t be discouraged.
If you continuously floss, you should get used to it and the discomfort and bleeding should subside in a couple of weeks at the most. If it doesn’t, you should see your dentist.
Use the Correct Amount of Floss
Oftentimes people try and use too little floss, which makes the whole process much more difficult and less effective.
Try to get around 18 inches of floss. While this might seem excessive, there are a couple of reasons why you might want so much.
First, this will allow you to wrap the floss around your thumb and forefinger, giving you better control for flossing teeth.
Having a large amount also means you will be able to use fresh sections of floss for each tooth. This results in more effective flossing and prevents spreading plaque or other particles.
Choose What Works for You
There are actually two particular types of floss called nylon (multifilament) floss and PTFE (monofilament) floss.
While both types work effectively, each has their pros and cons.
Nylon floss is cheaper, comes in both waxed and unwaxed, and also is offered in a variety of flavors.
But because it is a “multifilament” floss, meaning it is made up of many different strands, it has the tendency to tear. This is especially true for teeth that are tightly packed together.
PTFE floss, on the other hand, is made of a “monofilament” (one strand). This means that it does not shred or tear like the nylon floss even if the teeth are tightly packed together.
The downside? PTFE floss is more expensive compared to nylon floss.
Don’t Let Braces Stop You
If you have braces, a permanent retainer, or something else that makes flossing more difficult, there are ways to make it easier.
You can buy water flossers that can easily floss teeth, even with braces.
You can also try using waxed floss or PTFE floss, as those are less likely to be torn or shredded by the braces’ metal.
Floss Every Day
It is important to floss daily as this will help prevent the myriad of diseases we listed above.
In fact, many dentists suggest flossing twice daily, as with brushing.
It doesn’t really matter when or where you floss, as long as you do it! You could do it right after brushing your teeth, while you’re in the car on the way to work, right after you have lunch, right before bed, or even while you watch TV!
Flossing teeth right after brushing is a great way to form a habit, and it will also decrease the chance that you’ll forget to floss.
Rinse Your Mouth Post-Flossing
Flossing is great for getting food particles and plaque out from between your teeth.
This means that after you floss, there could be some plaque or food left behind in your mouth.
It’s a good idea to rinse your mouth out after you’ve finished flossing. This will clear your mouth of any plaque or food that you loosened out from between your teeth from flossing.
You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste!
While flossing can seem like a pain, cavities and gum disease are an even bigger pain.
Following these simple tips can help you maintain better dental hygiene, and overall, improve your health.
If you have any other tips or ideas, comment below! Questions or concerns? Feel free to contact us!