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A Complete Guide to Flossing Teeth

June 20, 2024
A Complete Guide to Flossing Teeth

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial, and a key component is regular flossing. By removing plaque buildup with floss, you significantly reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease. Flossing also helps prevent issues like bad breath, cavities, and potential tooth loss.

Flossing at least once a day is a simple yet effective way to preserve the health and longevity of your teeth, complementing a twice-daily brushing routine. Here's a complete guide to flossing your teeth so you can make the most out of your efforts.

Use the Right Floss

Selecting the right dental floss for your needs is essential. Various options are available, such as waxed or unwaxed, flavored or unflavored. Waxed floss is particularly beneficial for those with closely spaced teeth, as it glides more smoothly. 

The type of floss that's best for you ultimately depends on your personal comfort. Dental floss types include:

  • String Dental Floss: This is the most common type, available in both waxed and unwaxed varieties. The texture and flavor may vary, but all are equally effective. For instance, waxed floss is often preferred by individuals with braces, as it navigates around wires with ease.
  • Dental Tape: Thicker than string floss, dental tape is ideal for teeth with wider gaps between teeth. It may also be easier to hold for some people.
  • Picks: These hold a piece of floss between two arms and are particularly useful for individuals with limited hand mobility. However, if you use this type, it's important to rinse or wipe the pick after flossing each tooth due to its shorter floss length.
  • Threaders: These function like a needle holding thread and are beneficial for passing floss between teeth and around dental appliances, such as bridges.
  • Interdental Brushes: These thin, round brushes are a great option for people with reduced mobility, effectively removing food particles from between teeth.
  • Water Flossers: Handheld tools that emit a thin stream of water, providing an alternative method for cleaning between teeth, especially useful for those with limited mobility or dental appliances.

Mastering Proper Flossing Technique

If you opt for string floss or dental tape, use about 18 inches of floss, wrapping most of it around your index fingers for better control.

Hold the floss with your thumb and index fingers, leaving three to four inches exposed for actual flossing. Then, gently slide the floss between your teeth, avoiding excessive force to prevent gum irritation. Employ a gentle "C" motion, moving it up and down to remove plaque and debris effectively.

Be sure to floss between each tooth individually, using a fresh section of floss for each tooth. Don't forget to floss your rear molars, as this area is prone to gum disease and tooth decay.

When you are finished flossing, it's best to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash to ensure all particles are removed.

Consistency is Key

If you experience bleeding gums initially, it's a sign that more frequent flossing is needed. Aim to floss daily for two to three minutes each time. For most people, incorporating flossing into their dental hygiene routine after brushing is an effective way to ensure comprehensive oral hygiene.

Remember, the health and vibrancy of your smile depend on regular flossing. Make it a daily habit to keep your smile fresh and radiant.

Ready to Improve Your Oral Health and Smile? Fallin Family Dentistry Can Help

Whether you want to learn more about improving your oral health or find out how you can get the smile you always wanted, the dental professionals at Fallin Family Dentistry are here for you.Call our office at 225-654-2212 or contact us to schedule a consultation and examination.

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1338 Church St
Zachary, LA 70791
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