Floss Your Teeth Right
A 2017 survey conducted by the (ADA) and Waterpik revealed that just 16% of adults floss daily and 20% only when they need to remove food stuck in their teeth. Yikes! Flossing is essential to good oral health, so our Huntersville Dentistry team put together some information to help you understand the importance of regular flossing.
Why Flossing Matters
Tooth brushing alone does not remove the plaque that forms on our teeth. By not removing the plaque, it eventually hardens and becomes tartar. This can eventually lead to periodontal disease or gum disease. Once tartar forms, only a dentist can remove it.
In addition to gum disease, failure to clean between your teeth can lead to tooth decay, bad breath, and other oral health problems.
For those just starting out, flossing will likely result in bleeding gums. The reason this happens is that the bacteria that has been stuck in between your teeth and gums has caused inflammation. Removing the plaque irritates them, causing the bleeding. Fortunately, this should only last for up to two weeks. Should it persist longer, be sure to give Dr. Marra a call so we can determine the cause.
How to Properly Floss Your Teeth
Use an 18-inch piece of floss and wrap the ends around your middle fingers, leaving an inch or two to work with in between them.
Next, grab the floss between your thumb and forefinger and move it gently up and down between your teeth.
While holding the floss firmly against each tooth, make a “C” shape to lightly guide it below the gum line and alongside each tooth.
Use new sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth.
There are two different types of floss available in drugstores:
- Single filament (PTFE)
Nylon is the most widely used and recognizable variety of floss. It is composed of several strands of nylon and available in both waxed and non-waxed forms. PTFE floss is made from a single filament strand and great for those with little space in between their teeth. Both are perfectly fine to use, just look for the ADA seal of approval on whichever floss you choose.
For patients with smaller mouths or who have trouble reaching the back teeth, Huntersville Dentistry recommends using a floss holder. This is a stick shaped like a lowercase “d” or “b” with a small piece of floss stretched across the top. This allows the use of one hand to reach those difficult spots.
When is the Best Time to Floss?
For those who have had trouble making flossing a habit, the good news is that the best time to floss is when it works for you. Many people floss right before bedtime, but if you find that you are too tired to do so, then try flossing in the morning. Likewise, it doesn’t matter whether your floss before or after brushing your teeth. The most important thing is simply that you floss at all.
Making flossing part of your daily oral care routine is simple. If you already brush your teeth twice a day, then adding a couple minutes of flossing is easy.
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