Flossing is an important part of any dental health routine. Did you know that only 30% of American’s report that they floss regularly? Brushing is very important, but brushing alone only reaches about 60% of the surface of your teeth so flossing is an important step to keeping your teeth and mouth healthy and fighting cavities. It’s also important that your technique is correct so that you reach everywhere that plaque can hide. If you’re curious whether you’re flossing correctly, read on to learn about 5 ways to floss like a pro.
1. Choose the Right Floss for Your Needs
There are different types of floss to meet different needs. Choosing a floss with a wax coating can help prevent the floss from shredding when flossing tight spaces or appliances like braces or built in retainers. Gentle floss that is thicker and made from a spongy material is also a wonderful option if you’re just starting out because it can make it easier on your gums until they become healthier and less sensitive.
2. Make Sure to Use Enough Floss
14-18 inches is the correct length of floss to use. It may seem like a lot, but when you floss it’s important to move to a new section of the floss for each tooth so that you’re always using a fresh part of the strand and not spreading the plaque you’re trying to clear away.
3. Hold it Correctly
Wrap the floss loosely around your middle fingers on each hand, then use your index fingers and thumbs to guide the floss into the spaces between each tooth. There should be about 2 inches of floss stretched tautly between your index fingers to ensure that you have the best control.
4. Floss Under the Gumline
Another one of the most important ways to floss like a pro is to make sure that you guide the floss under the gumline of both teeth on either side of the space that you are flossing. This is a common area where plaque tends to hide and can harden into tarter or cause cavities.
5. Use Special Flossing Tools
There are also several flossing tools available that your dentist might recommend that you can usually find at your pharmacy or drugstore such as dental picks and interdental brushes.
These can sometimes be easier or be used to reach places that are tough to reach with traditional floss like between braces and built in retainers or around implants and bridges. It can be difficult to reach all the angles that traditional floss can reach so it’s usually best to use a combination of tools for the different areas of your mouth.
A water irrigation tool is a tool that produces a pressurized stream of water to clear away plaque and other debris from areas of your teeth that brushing alone can’t reach, similar to floss. It can be a great investment if you have braces or a condition such as arthritis that affects your grip or dexterity that may make it difficult to hold floss and other small tools. It can also be more gentle on your gums if you’re still getting used to flossing. Choosing the right tools can make the difference between flossing as usual, or finding the best ways to floss like a pro.
Daily Practice is Key
Practicing these ways to floss like a pro daily can set you on your way to being a pro at flossing in no time. Making an appointment with your dentist may also be helpful because you can ask your dentist to demonstrate the proper way to floss your teeth and talk about which floss and tools might work best for you.
Call our Traverse City Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.