Let’s be honest, most of us don’t floss our teeth enough. But is it really that important? And if so, is there a specific way to floss?
Dentists agree that yes, flossing is that important. Why else would they remind us at every routine visit? You should floss daily for the best results. Failure to floss can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay.
Do you want to protect your pearly whites and have a smile you’re proud to flash? Then there’s no excuse not to learn how to floss properly.
Read on for our 8 top flossing tips for a healthy mouth.
1) Be Consistent
We all know that forming a new habit is difficult – how many times have you promised yourself you’ll start something on Monday? These habits usually don’t last. But, this is where you’ll have more success with flossing.
Flossing takes two minutes, so there’s no excuse not to. Line up your floss right next to your toothbrush and next time you brush, spend two minutes flossing. Easy.
By cementing this habit as a ‘100% must be completed every day’ routine, you’ll also cement your teeth firmly into those healthy gums. An extra two minutes a day is all you need to improve your oral hygiene. Consistency is key.
2) Get the Right Floss
Waxed, unwaxed, plain, flavored, charcoal, or tape? Which floss do you use? The most important thing is to check for the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance on the packaging.
A standard floss is a thin, nylon strand that you pull through the gaps between each tooth. If you have no problems flossing, an unwaxed floss will be fine. But if your teeth are close together, a waxed floss can help the thread slide through the gaps without catching.
If you want novelty (or have a fussy child,) choose a funky flavor or a whitening charcoal floss. If you have crowded teeth and find that floss gets stuck in the gaps, choose dental tape. Dental tape is very thin and slides right into the tightest gaps.
3) When to Floss
The ADA recommendation for the best gum health is to floss once each day. But here’s the good news, you can choose when to floss.
Before or after brushing? Flossing before brushing means you remove food and plaque, leaving a cleaner surface for your fluoride toothpaste to act on. But, flossing after brushing means that you can help spread fluoride between your clean teeth.
The ADA state that as long as both brushing and flossing are part of your daily oral care routine, it doesn’t matter which order you choose to do it.
4) How to Floss
There’s no point flossing if you don’t do it right. Luckily, it’s not too difficult.
First, take 18 inches of floss. Wrap the ends around the first two fingers of each hand, leaving only 1-2 inches of taught floss.
Then, put the floss between your two back teeth on either side, pull the floss gently up and down the side of each tooth. When the floss reaches the gum, pull it towards the tooth in a ‘C’ shape, to allow the floss to slide between the gum and the tooth.
Repeat these steps for each tooth. For good oral hygiene make sure to use a new piece of floss for each tooth.
5) Floss Gently
This may seem obvious, but you should floss carefully and gently to avoid damaging the gums. While you’re flossing, make sure you don’t strike your gums with the thread as it causes scratches and bruising.
If you aren’t in the habit of flossing, some bleeding may occur the first few times you floss. This is okay, it’s a natural part of improving oral hygiene. But, if your gums continue bleeding after a week of flossing, you’re being too rough. Gums are not meant to bleed.
6) Don’t Neglect the Back Teeth
No one’s saying it’s easy to reach the teeth right at the back of your mouth, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. The gaps between the molars are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. For the best results, it’s advised to start at the back and work your way around to ensure the whole mouth gets cleaned thoroughly.
You might think you’re getting away with avoiding the back teeth until you get a horrendous toothache. If you struggle with normal floss, try using a disposable floss pick between those tricky-to-reach molars.
7) Try Water Flossers
If you’re struggling with normal floss, get a water flosser. Water flossers can be high maintenance but if you don’t like traditional flossing, they’re an excellent alternative. A water flosser is a handheld device that shoots thin streams of water between the teeth.
A water flosser requires electricity to run, the water tank needs to be refilled regularly, and it’s not as portable and convenient as normal floss. But, it definitely has a higher novelty factor and makes the whole process easier.
8) See a Dentist for Advice
Flossing is a great start, but it’s also important to see a dentist regularly to maintain a healthy mouth. At Newbury Dental Group, we provide routine dental services such as teeth cleaning and oral health checks.
If you need something more complex, we also provide dental procedures to restore, replace, and repair teeth. And finally, if you’re looking to enhance your smile, we provide cosmetic services such as teeth straightening and whitening.
Follow These Flossing Tips for a Stunning Smile
Now you know these top 8 flossing tips, it’s time to get started. All you need to do is buy some floss and dedicate an extra two minutes a day to your oral care routine.
Start today and see the effects almost immediately.
Book in at Newbury Dental Group today for a check-up and to see what services we can offer you to keep your mouth healthy and improve your smile.