How to Floss

You do well to attend your yearly dental checkup. 

Everything looks great, but after the dentist examines you, he finds cavities! This time the tooth decay is between your teeth. What happened? Chances are you forgot to floss!  

Your toothbrush removes plaque from the tooth surface, but plaque and food particles can get stuck in between your teeth. Removing plaque in between the teeth is best done by flossing.

It can be easy to forget to floss, but daily flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene. So, how can we get into those tight spaces? Here are a few easy steps to walk you through it. 

What Is the Proper Flossing Technique? 

Before you do the following steps, be sure to wash your hands so that no bacteria from your hands is spread into your mouth. Using a mirror might help you the first time you floss.

1. Gather 18 inches of floss, making sure you have enough to use a clean section between all teeth.

2. Wrap the floss taut around one finger and use the same finger on the opposite hand. Wrap the floss until you have a small section. 

Note: Many prefer to use their index fingers or middle fingers, but you can use the fingers that you are most comfortable with. 

3. Choose a section to start in. Many people like to start with the back teeth. Put the floss between your teeth, then floss gently until it reaches just under your gumline. 

Caution: Be careful not to exert force on the gumline. Small amounts of bleeding may occur around the gum tissue at first. However, if bleeding persists after one week, see your dentist. 

4. Make a ‘C’ shape around the tooth and keep the floss on the side of the tooth. Now use a gentle rubbing motion up and down and right to left. Repeat this on the adjacent tooth. Continue doing so with the rest of your teeth, one tooth at a time.

5. Gently remove the floss since snapping the floss up may cause pain or remove previous fillings.

6. Change your floss to a fresh section by unwinding your fingers.

7. Make sure you floss all your teeth properly, not forgetting the teeth at the very back!

8. Dispose of the used floss in the trash. Always use a fresh piece when you floss your teeth.

9. Brush your teeth. 

Now take a step back and admire your beautiful pearly whites after your flawless floss! 

What Dental Floss Should I Use?

The type of floss will vary depending on your preference and your dental needs. 

Regular floss may work just fine for many people. Waxed floss is coated, so it may slide on the side of the tooth easier. 

If you have trouble flossing by hand, an electric flosser or water flosser could be a good option. Using a floss threader could make it easy for patients that wear braces to floss. 

What Happens If I Do Not Floss My Teeth?

It is never too late to start. We hope that you found this article helpful to assist you. If you haven’t flossed, you may have an increased risk of decay, gingivitis, or gum disease.

Our dental professionals here at Pinole Oral Surgery are happy to examine and suggest any treatment that will put you back on track to good oral health. Contact us today for an appointment to see which treatment will be right for you.

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