Flossing is an important oral hygiene habit. It cleans and dislodges food from between the teeth, which reduces the amount of bacteria and interdental plaque. Plaque is a film that sticks to teeth and contributes to tooth decay and gum disease.
Of course, flossing is not enough. It is important to use it correctly. Incorrect flossing not only fails to do its job, it can backfire and damage your teeth and gums. So, if you’re not sure you know the right way to clean between your teeth, here’s a step-by-step guide on the best way to use this great dental hygiene tool.
Flossing: What are the steps to follow?
- Break off about 50 cm of floss. To hold the floss properly, wind most of the floss around the two middle fingers. Leave only about 5 to 6 centimeters of floss for the teeth.
- Next, hold the floss taut with your thumb and forefinger.
- Place the floss between two teeth. Gently slide the floss against one of the teeth. Do not slide the floss toward the gums as you may damage them.
- When the floss reaches the groove between the gum and tooth, curve the floss at the base of the tooth to form a C shape. This allows the floss to enter the space between the gums and the tooth. Repeat the process on the other tooth.
- Repeat the steps as you move from tooth to tooth. Key point: with each tooth, use a new, clean section of floss. You can roll the floss onto the fingers of the other hand.
What is the best way to floss with braces?
Flossing with braces can be complicated and takes longer than without them. There is a specific floss that incorporates a rigid, needle-like part to make it easier to thread the floss between the attachments of your braces. You can also use a small tool to help you thread the floss under your brackets. Both can save you time when flossing in your daily oral hygiene.
When should dental floss be used?
Some people have a routine of brushing their teeth first and then flossing. However, it is generally recommended to floss and then brush your teeth.
Flossing helps lift and release food and plaque from between the teeth, while brushing removes these particles from the mouth. If you brush first and floss later, the food and plaque remain in your mouth until the next time you brush.
Types of dental floss
There are many varieties of dental floss. The type that is right for you depends on your preferences or the space between your teeth.
There is floss in floss, ribbon floss, flavored floss, as well as floss with or without wax.
If your teeth are crowded or closer together, wax-coated floss can make it easier to pass between them.
Floss threader can work with brackets, bridges and gaps.
Floss with a stiff end for flossing under braces, a fluffy flosser for cleaning around braces, and regular floss for removing plaque below the gum line.
So you see, becoming an expert in using this great tool to keep your mouth healthy doesn’t have much of a secret.