People often ask our dental hygienists about how to floss correctly. Here is some information to alleviate your worries about flossing mistakes.
Why should I floss?
The number one flossing mistake is not to floss at all. A toothbrush can’t reach all of the plaque in between your teeth – that’s where flossing comes in. Flossing allows you to break up hard-to-reach food particles and bacteria along your gums, which are highly vulnerable to disease. In addition to preventing tooth loss and gum disease from infected gums, removing plaque and leftover food regularly with floss can also lead to fresher breath.
How do I floss?
Other flossing mistakes come with technique. Begin flossing by breaking off a decent amount of floss (18 inches or more) and wrap it around your middle fingers. Gripping the floss with your other fingers, guide it between each of your teeth with a rubbing motion. Avoid being overly forceful with your movements. As you approach your gum line, ease the floss in between your tooth and your gum – similar to a C shape, to pick up any hard-to-reach bacteria.
Remember to floss around all of your teeth including those in the very back. In addition, it’s important to floss around each tooth with a clean section of floss. If you choose to use a plastic or electronic flosser, use similar movements to those described above.
If you’re not used to flossing regularly, you may experience some discomfort or mild pain during the first few times. However, if the pain persists for several weeks, make an appointment to speak with one of our Dental Care Center dentists as soon as possible.
When do I floss?
At the Dental Care Center, we recommend flossing at least once a day. While there is no ideal time to floss, you may choose to floss before brushing to help dislodge plaque to then be brushed away. Whenever you choose to floss, be sure you take time to thoroughly floss all of your teeth. Remember – brushing or using mouthwash can never replace the benefits of flossing.