Flossing is an essential part of your dental routine. Knowing how to do it effectively is also important.
According to The American Dental Association, flossing should be done daily, and having a good technique is vital for keeping your mouth healthy and preventing cavities. So, how does flossing work? Here’s a tutorial on how to floss your teeth.
Preparation before you floss will be key in helping you maintain an effective technique. Here’s what you can do to prepare:
Get Your Flossing Equipment Ready
Decide which flossing equipment you are going to use. There are different types of floss such as waxed, unwaxed, satin tape, floss sticks, floss holders and water flossers.
Normal floss and tape take a certain amount of manual dexterity. So, if this is something you struggle with, then sticks, holders or water flossers may work better for you. How close your teeth are together may also be a factor in which equipment you choose.
Wash Your Hands
It is important to wash your hands thoroughly before touching the floss or putting it in your mouth. This is a vital step because bacteria from your hands could enter your mouth.
How To Floss Your Teeth
If you are using floss or tape, break off a piece measuring around 18–20 inches. This should mean there is enough to do your whole mouth. Wrap the floss around whichever fingers feel most comfortable on each hand. Usually, the index or middle fingers work best. Then, pull the floss tight.
Slide the floss gently in-between your teeth. Be careful because poor technique can lead to gum damage and complications. Move the floss down one side of the tooth to the gum margin. Go under the gum slightly to remove debris, then back up the other side of the tooth using almost a V-shaped movement. Then move onto the next tooth using a clean portion of the floss each time. Do this until you have cleaned in-between all of your teeth. A clockwise direction, starting from the back teeth, may be beneficial for remembering which areas you’ve cleaned. The back teeth can be tricky, and you might find a pick or floss holder easier.
Once you’ve finished, discard the floss. Never reuse floss because you will just be reintroducing bacteria into your mouth.
You can then brush your teeth, as usual. You don’t have to floss at the same time as brushing, but be sure to floss at least once a day. There is no strong evidence to show whether it is more effective to floss before or after brushing. Just do what feels comfortable to you.
Alternatives to Floss
If you struggle with flossing and have tried picks and holders, then interdental brushes may be a good option for you. They are available in different sizes, and you use them by pushing a little brush between your teeth which dislodges any debris stuck there. They are very effective. However, they are unable to get under the gumline as floss does.
Book a Checkup
Remember to book a regular checkup so that your dentist can see if your flossing routine is effective. They can also demonstrate the correct flossing technique if you are unsure. Here at West Coast Dental, we can work around your schedule and help you manage your dental hygiene. We have dentists in Van Nuys, Pomona, Torrance, and more. Book an appointment with us today!
American Dental Association — Flossing
Waterpik – Oral Health
Oral B — How To Floss