You brush your teeth twice every day. But every time you go to your dental checkups and cleanings, you hear the same thing: you need to floss as well. Isn’t brushing enough to keep your mouth clean and healthy? Besides daily brushing and going to dental checkups and cleanings, flossing is one of the best things you can do prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
Even if you do floss, are you certain that you’re doing it the right way? Make sure your flossing technique will help, and not hinder, your efforts for good oral health with this advice from your dentist.
Why do I need to floss?
Brushing gets rid of a lot of the bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay. However, the toothbrush bristles can’t reach in between your teeth. Think about how much tooth surface remains vulnerable! Without flossing, plaque can build up between your teeth, forming tartar and producing acids that attack your teeth and gums. Without intervention, you could face gum disease, a cavity, damaged supporting fibers and bone, or even tooth loss. The simple task of flossing once a day helps prevent all that.
What is the right way to floss?
It’s important to use the proper flossing technique because improper flossing can damage your gums. To clean between your teeth safely and effectively, follow these steps:
- Using an 18-inch long piece of floss, wind most of it around your middle finger. Then wind the rest of the floss around your other middle finger with about 4 inches between them.
- Hold the floss tightly with your forefinger and your thumb.
- Gently guide the floss between your teeth with a rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
- Upon reaching the gumline, use a C-shaped motion against one tooth. Slide it gently in the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum motioning up and down.
- Repeat this process on the rest of the teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your teeth.
If you need additional instruction on how to floss, contact your dentist. They or one of their hygienists will be able to demonstrate the proper technique.
What if my gums bleed when I floss?
When you first start to floss, your gums may bleed a little, which is normal. After you continue flossing consistently, the bleeding should eventually stop.
Following these instructions and flossing every day can dramatically improve your oral health. Take your dentist’s advice and start flossing today! You and your dentist will notice a difference at your next checkup.
About the Author
Monarch Dentistry is fortunate to have two talented, experience dentists to serve patients in the Vienna area. Both Dr. Neil Flenniken and Dr. Suzan Rismani-Flenniken are licensed to practice in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. They strongly believe in preventive dentistry and use the latest technology to help them diagnose issues like TMJ disorder, oral cancer, and sleep apnea. You can contact them by calling or clicking here.