The Ultimate Flossing Guide - Floss Like a Boss!
Did the title of this blog post make you shudder, even just a little? If so, you’re not alone. Many people hate to floss, and as a result, they simply skip this important oral health task.
Unfortunately, failure to floss can lead to some negative oral health outcomes down the line. If you are interested in keeping your teeth as healthy as possible over the long run – and you should be – flossing should be seen as a mandatory activity when it comes to preventative dental care.
We feel that many people are against flossing simply because they don’t know how to handle the task properly. Once you know how to floss correctly, and you gain a little bit of experience, you will find that there is nothing to be afraid of. This guide will offer up some basic information that should set you on a path toward a healthy flossing habit. Of course, if you have any questions regarding flossing which are not answered in this guide, feel free to speak with your dentist during your next visit.
The Benefits of Flossing
Before we get into technique, let’s take a moment to highlight some of the many benefits of flossing on a regular basis. If you think that you don’t need to floss simply because you do a good job of brushing your teeth twice per day, you are sadly mistaken.
- Flossing accomplishes what a toothbrush can’t. Cleaning between your teeth is a task that your toothbrush simply was not designed to handle. Yes, it is perfectly capable of removing plaque from the surface of your teeth, but that is where its capabilities come to an end. If you want to remove plaque from between your teeth, you are going to want to employ the use of floss. Without that buildup between your teeth, you will be able to do an even more effective job with your toothbrush, compounding the benefits of brushing twice daily.
- Prevent tartar buildup and gum disease. According to Implant and Periodontic Specialists, "An estimated 80% OF AMERICAN ADULTS HAVE SOME FORM OF GUM DISEASE." Hard buildup of plaque around the gum line is known as tartar, and having it removed in your dentist’s office is usually not an enjoyable experience. If you floss regularly, you may be able to successfully avoid the buildup of tartar – and the need to have it removed by a professional as well as well as gum disease.
- Create a great smile. Everyone loves the feeling of being confident in their smile, but you might not feel that way when your teeth are falling somewhat short of their potential. The combination of daily flossing with twice daily brushing will go a long way toward allowing your smile to look great at all times.
There is a lot to like about flossing, even if you don’t love the thought of it at the moment. Once you get started, you’ll appreciate the many benefits and find out that it isn’t that bad!
Building Your Technique
In this section, we will describe a basic flossing technique that will work nicely for most people. It is important to note, however, that you may wind up needing to customize this technique slightly to suit your personal needs.
Experiment with different techniques to find something that works for you. As long as the goal of flossing your teeth in a comfortable manner is being accomplished, you are doing it right.
- The first step is to prepare a piece of floss for the job. Take a length of floss out of the package – roughly 18’’ or so should do the job. Wrap much of the floss around the middle finger on one of your hands, and wrap the other end of the piece around your opposite middle finger. Using your middle fingers to ‘spool’ the floss, you can then pinch what is left between your thumb and forefingers on each hand. This technique should leave you with a tight grip and plenty of control over the floss.
- Now it is time to get to work. Start between your front teeth and move the floss gently back and forth. Remember, the key is to move slowly with gentle motions – there should be nothing harsh or aggressive about your technique.
- Wrap the floss around the side of your tooth and gradually pull back and forth to move buildup away from the tooth. Try not to get in a rush with this process – take your time and it will be done soon enough.
- Move through your mouth until you have addressed all of your teeth. When finished, discard the used piece of floss and start with a new piece tomorrow.
The best thing you can do for your flossing future is simply to get started. By gaining some experience right away, you will get more and more comfortable with this activity as you go along. Of course, the sooner you get started, the sooner you can see results!
Some Common Mistakes
It is possible that you will make some mistakes along the way, especially if you haven’t flossed much in the past. That’s okay! We are here to help. Here a couple of common mistakes to watch out for –
- Not using enough floss. You want to make sure that you start out with enough floss to finish the entire job. As mentioned above, at least 18’’ is a good place to start.
- Being too aggressive. This was mentioned in the section above – you need to be gentle when flossing your teeth. Use enough force to get the job done, but you shouldn’t feel like you are in a fight with your teeth and gums.
- Failing to floss regularly. The benefits of flossing are best enjoyed when you keep up a consistent habit. Sure, you might miss a day now and then – that really isn’t a big deal. If you aim for daily flossing and at least get close to that mark, you will be doing a big favor to your oral health.
Still not sure about how to get started flossing, or want some advice directly from a professional? No problem! Ask your questions during your next visit with us, your Downtown Spokane Dentist, and we’ll be happy to assist. Thanks for visiting!