How to Floss for Healthier Gums & Teeth

Family Dentist In Washington Mi

How to Floss for Healthier Gums & Teeth

Family Dentist In Washington Mi

Flossing is a crucial yet often overlooked component of oral hygiene. While many people diligently brush their teeth, our Washington, MI, dentists find that fewer understand the impact that regular flossing can have on their overall dental health. Not only does flossing remove food particles and plaque that a toothbrush can’t reach, but it also helps prevent gum disease and cavities by cleaning between the teeth and under the gum line.

Whether you are a novice or are looking to refine your skills, here’s what you need to know about the right way to use dental floss and why it’s an important oral health tool.

Why Flossing Is Significant

As mentioned above, most patients understand the importance of brushing your teeth but they neglect to also embrace the act of flossing. In fact, it’s estimated that about only 4 in 10 Americans floss every day. It is recommended that if you’re brushing at least twice a day, that you’re also flossing at least once.

So, why does using floss matter? Well, flossing helps to clean out and remove any bits of food that become stuck in between your teeth. This then reduces how much bacteria and plaque form in, around, and on your teeth. In a nutshell, flossing is a beneficial oral hygiene habit that lowers your risk for developing tooth decay and gum disease.

How Should I Be Flossing? 

Learning to floss is nothing complicated. However, most people think they’re using floss correctly when in fact, they’re going too fast, being too rough, or missing spots. If done improperly, you can potentially damage your teeth and gums.

To make it easier, we’ve included a step-by-step guide below that you can follow once a day. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask our dentists or staff for guidance at your next teeth cleaning appointment.

Instructions for easy flossing:

  • Tear off about 18-24 inches of floss.
  • Wrap most of the floss around both of your middle fingers, leaving about 1-2 inches for use on your teeth.
  • Use your thumbs and index fingers to tightly hold the floss and place it between two teeth.
  • Carefully and gently move the floss up and down to rub it against both sides of each tooth. Try not to glide the floss into your gums as this can cause scratching and bruising.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape once it reaches your gums so it hugs the base of your tooth. By doing this, you’re allowing the floss to enter the space between your gums and tooth.
  • Repeat the above steps until you’ve finished flossing between every tooth (even behind your back molars!) and use a clean section of floss as you go.

Navigating Floss Options

It is generally recommended that you floss first, then brush your teeth. But what type of floss should you use? There are 3 main types of floss to choose from and that includes standard floss, dental tape, and floss threaders.

As far as the 3 types of floss go, simply pick a quality product that feels the best. Dental tape is broader and flatter which is great if you have braces or larger gaps in between your teeth. Regular floss comes in waxed or woven versions and is a thin nylon strand.

Lastly, floss threaders can benefit patients with braces, dental bridges, and gaps. There are multiple components to a floss threader which includes:

  • A stiffer end for making flossing underneath appliances easier
  • Floss that’s spongy for cleaning around appliances, i.e., brackets and wires
  • Regular floss for removing plaque underneath your gum line

Other Ways to Floss

Can’t get the hang of flossing or find it difficult due to arthritis or limited hand mobility? There are a few other tools you can use to get rid of plaque and leftover food bits. We’re mainly talking about water flossers and floss picks.

Electric water flossers are more on the expensive side but they’re great for patients who have trouble with standard floss. Water flossers use water and pressure to rinse away plaque and debris between teeth. This tool is also nice if you have braces! If you’re willing to invest, our dentists highly recommend a water flosser.

Floss picks, on the other hand, can be bought in bulk and are disposable after one full use. You can move them around your smile easily and have better luck reaching areas in the back of your mouth.

Ask Our Dentists About Flossing

Learning the right flossing technique is key to effectively cleaning your teeth while avoiding any potential harm to your gums. Need any help? Our dentists in Washington, MI, would be happy to show you how it’s done and make recommendations on products. Call Romeo Family Dentistry today at (586) 752-3589 to request an appointment.

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