Flossing between teeth is a very important part of oral hygiene. Brushing alone cannot remove the food particles between teeth as the bristles can only reach the surface and partway around the sides. Brushing without flossing can eventually lead to plaque, gum disease, and cavities. Flossing should be done at least once daily, if not twice, and anytime noticeable food is caught between the teeth. This article will detail how to floss properly and why flossing is important. Our dental hygienists will demonstrate how to floss during your visit and ensure you’re able to accomplish flossing on your own.
Before you floss, you must choose your type of floss. It comes in multifilament nylon floss or monofilament PTFE floss. The nylon floss comes waxed or unwaxed, flavored or unflavored, and has a rougher texture for more friction against the particles on the teeth. But it can shred in tight spaces. The PTFE floss is more expensive and is very thin and slippery, but when used correctly is just as effective and is also shred resistant.
Once you have purchased the floss of your choice, flossing begins with about 18 inches of floss. It is recommended that you wind most of the floss around your two middle fingers, leaving about an inch or two of floss to work with at a time.
Then, use your thumbs and index fingers to hold the floss firmly and slip it in-between the first two teeth to be flossed. Now many people fail to floss properly with this step, leaving residue that can wreak havoc in the mouth. It is vital that the floss be curved around the side of each tooth from the base to the top to scrape those inside areas. Simply running the floss between the two teeth would only remove the largest of particles, leaving plaque on the sides of the teeth.
Try to be careful, when flossing, to not injure the gums. For example, pulling too hard to get the floss between two teeth could snap the floss down sharply against the gums and make them bleed. So try sliding back and forth to get into tight spaces, rather than pulling hard.
Once the space between one set of teeth is done, rotate the floss on your fingers to provide another inch or two of clean floss for the next section. Repeat this process throughout the mouth until the sides of all the teeth have been scraped and then throw the used floss away.