Most people know that daily brushing is essential to their dental health. However, some still neglect the importance of flossing. A survey conducted in consultation with the American Dental Association found that 44% of people admit to exaggerating how much they floss when asked by their dentist.
In reality, however, it was found that:
- only a few people floss daily (16%)
- most people only floss when there is food debris between their teeth (20%)
- some people never floss (8%)
The common reasons why some choose not to floss: They don’t know why it’s needed. They don’t know how to do it properly.
This article will discuss why flossing before or after brushing is vital to help you stay on top of your oral health. More importantly, there is a step-by-step guide on how to floss safely and effectively.
The Importance of Flossing in Keeping Up Your Dental Hygiene
Imagine this: You just had a lovely dinner, eating your favorite meal with your loved ones. However, you feel some discomfort, finding something off with your mouth.
You checked the mirror and realized that leftovers have gotten stuck between your teeth. How do you get them out?
Many Americans use unusual items to remove food stuck between their teeth: pieces of paper, fingernails, cutlery, safety pins, and even strands of hair. This finding is from the same survey from the ADA that found adults exaggerating answers as to how frequent they floss.
Using those items for this purpose can hurt your teeth and gums and increase the spread of bacteria in your mouth. Thankfully, there is a safer and more effective tool for this problem: dental floss.
When you floss regularly, you can prevent gum disease, cavities, and other oral infections. Floss can clean hard-to-reach areas between your teeth and remove trapped food debris before they harden into plaque. Research studies cited by the National Institutes of Health mentioned those benefits as well, noting that flossing alongside brushing teeth reduces risk of gingivitis and plaque build-up compared to brushing alone.
How To Floss Properly in 7 Easy Steps
Now that you understand why it’s important to floss, your next move is to learn how to do it safely and effectively. Here’s how you can get started:
#1: Pick a time of day to include flossing in your daily routine.
The ADA recommends flossing at least once a day. You can choose to do this whenever it fits your schedule, as long as you make it part of your daily oral care routine.
Some choose to floss after brushing, while others prefer doing it before. However, flossing first is generally recommended because the floss will loosen the food debris stuck between your teeth. The brushing motions can then thoroughly remove the released particles from the mouth.
#2: Take about 18 inches of dental floss.
Eighteen inches gives you enough string to be able to use a new section for each space between your teeth, helping you avoid spreading food debris around as you use the floss.
#3: Break off the floss and wind most of it around your middle fingers.
The remaining dental floss can be wound around the same finger of your opposite hand. You can use this finger to take up the floss as it accumulates dirt from between your teeth.
#4: Grip the floss tightly between your fingers.
Use your thumb and forefinger to hold the dental floss so that you can grasp it more easily.
#5: Slip the floss between your teeth gently.
Don’t ever snap the floss into your gums. With a light touch, guide the floss between the space as far as it’ll go, making sure it reaches the gum line. Once this is done, use it to form a “c” shape and rub it against one tooth.
#6: Move the floss against the side of the tooth.
While holding the floss tightly, move it away from the gum, rubbing the side of the tooth with up and down motions. To fully dislodge food and plaque, use about 8 to 10 strokes between each tooth.
#7: When you’re done, discard the floss.
The ADA does not recommend using a floss strand more than once. Used floss loses its effectiveness. Worse, it actively deposits more bacteria into the mouth.
If you’ve tried these steps and are still finding it difficult or painful to floss, consult your dentist. They may recommend alternative options to string dental flosses, such as water flossers or interdental brushes.
Start Using Floss in Your Daily Oral Care!
Flossing can be challenging when you don’t know how to do it properly, but now that you have these helpful tips, it can be a breeze. Take charge of your dental hygiene by choosing extra-strong flossers and picks, such as the ones offered by PRO-SYS.
No matter how tight the spaces between your teeth, these flossers can get the job done without bringing you any pain or discomfort. Experience the difference that using quality floss can have on your teeth and gum health today!