25 Jul Quick and Easy Dental Floss Tips for a Healthy Smile
More likely than not, you’ve heard the dental advice, brush, and floss daily in order to keep your smile fresh and healthy. However, your toothbrush alone, while effective, does not reach everywhere in your mouth easily. As dentists, we recommend that you don’t just brush daily, but floss daily too, at least once a day. The American Dental Association also agrees that flossing is an essential part of keeping your teeth and mouth clean and healthy. It doesn’t matter when you floss, before or after brushing, it just matters that you do it! This powerful tool has the ability to prevent cavities and gives your overall health a boost. Flossing can get to those hard to reach areas, the areas where brushes cannot easily reach, such as in between your teeth and under the gumline. Flossing daily is recommended so there isn’t any hidden plaque buildup, which can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, and eventually gum disease.
Before you floss, know that there are two main types of dental floss that you can choose from, PTFE (monofilament) floss and nylon (multifilament) floss. The cheaper of the two is the multifilament or nylon floss, which is comprised of many strands of nylon. However, this variety can shred or tear, especially when used between tight teeth. Whereas, the more expensive variety, monofilament or PTFE floss is a single filament that is able to slide easily between teeth without breakage, no matter how tight the space between your teeth is. While this variety is practically shred-resistant, both varieties of dental floss are excellent and effective at removing debris and dental plaque. In fact, both varieties of dental floss are effective if you use the proper flossing techniques. Check out our dental floss tips in order to ensure that you have a happy and healthy mouth.
1. Start off with 18-inches (give or take) of dental floss and wrap each end of the dental floss around your two middle fingers. Be sure to only leave an inch or two of dental floss to work with.
2. Gently hold the floss between your forefingers and thumbs, slide the dental floss gently back-and-forth, up and down between your teeth.
3. Around the base (gumline) of each tooth gently curve the floss around it, so you can ensure that you reach beneath the gumline. Be careful not to force or snap the force, as this can bruise or cut the delicate gum tissue.
4. Begin at the upper right corner of your mouth and work your way all the way over to the upper left. Once the top is done, go from the lower left to the lower right corner of your mouth.
5. As you move from tooth to tooth make sure you are using the fresh and clean sections of the dental floss.
6. When you are finished, use the back-and-forth motion in order to bring the floss up and away from your teeth.
7. Throw the piece of dental floss away once you are finished, a used piece of dental floss harbors bacteria and is not as effective.
As a general rule of thumb, look for oral care products that contain the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This ensures that the product you are using was evaluated for effectiveness and safety. If you need more assistance, or find that flossing hurts, make an appointment with your dentist.