Brushing your teeth is important to remove food particles and plaque on the surface of your teeth. But, there are areas where the toothbrush can’t reach, which is why it is important to floss as part of your daily routine. Floss can be used to clean between your teeth and under the gumline. As a result, you can reduce the risk of plaque buildup that leads to gum disease and tooth decay.
Are you using the right techniques when flossing your teeth? A few simple tricks will ensure optimal results to protect your smile. Follow these tips:
- Choose the Right Type of Floss: You can choose from either monofilament (PTFE) floss or multifilament (nylon) floss. Nylon floss is the cheapest option. It is made with multiple strands of nylon and you can buy it waxed or unwaxed. Monofilament floss is easier to slide between the teeth because it is created with one strand, helping to reduce the risk of shredding. Both types of floss can be effective for removing food and plaque, so it’s a personal preference when selecting the product that you want to use.
- Cut off About 19 Inches of Floss: The piece of floss can be cut using the built-in tool on the container. 18 inches is a good length because it gives you enough floss to wrap around your middle fingers. You should have 1 to 2 inches of floss between your fingers.
- Move Between the Teeth: When the floss is in place on your hands, the next step is to hold the floss so that it is taught between your index fingers and thumbs. Gently slide the floss between the teeth and down to the gumline. Make sure that the floss is positioned to curve around the tooth base on both sides. After moving the floss around the base of the tooth, gently pull the floss in a back-and-forth motion to bring it back through the space between your teeth to remove it.
- Clean Floss: Adjust the positioning of the floss as needed so that you can use clean sections of floss when you move to the next part of your mouth.
- Be Gentle with the Pressure: Flossing shouldn’t hurt or damage the gum tissue. Use gentle motions and never force or snap the floss. If you aren’t in the habit of flossing, then your gums might be tender for the first week. But, the pain will subside with regular flossing habits.
If you are uncomfortable holding a long piece of floss between your fingers, then you might consider using flossing picks. These disposable tools have a small piece of floss attached to a plastic pick, making it easier to access the areas of the mouth that are hard to reach.
Our team at myDental is here to answer your questions and help you develop the best oral health habits. You are welcome to visit our office if you would like a one-on-one tutorial to learn the best methods for effective flossing. Call today to schedule an exam and appointment. We offer multiple locations for your convenience: Elgin, Tech Ridge and Norwood Park.