Why is flossing important?
It’s simple, floss does the work the toothbrush can’t do. Its ability to get in between and around tricky areas of the mouth makes it an essential and irreplaceable part of your oral health routine. It does a fantastic job at reaching the places that your toothbrush can’t. By flossing your teeth on a regular basis, you will spend less time at the dentist treating oral health problems such as plaque buildup, gum disease and more.
When should I floss?
While brushing your teeth twice a day is recommended, flossing your teeth once a day is a good habit. We recommend making time to floss your teeth right before bed, once you’ve brushed your teeth and will no longer be consuming food and beverages for the rest of the evening. This way, you’ll go to sleep with a nice clean mouth!
What is the correct technique to floss?
Your technique is important, so we’ve outlined the safest and most effective way to floss your teeth:
- Start with 1 strand of floss, approx. 18 inches in length
- Wrap the majority of the floss around your middle fingers, leaving about an inch or two to work with
- Pull the floss tightly, and using your index fingers and thumbs, gently slide the floss up and down between your teeth
- When the floss reaches the gum line between the teeth, gently curve the floss around the base of the tooth. It is important that the floss goes beneath the gumline
- Once you’ve flossed all your teeth, rinse with water and follow-up with an antiseptic mouthwash
- Be gentle! Do not force or snap the floss as this can damage or bruise delicate tissue
- Use new sections of the floss to maintain clean contact with teeth and gums
- Floss the backside of your last tooth
- Throw away the dirty floss. The used piece collects all of the bacteria and will not be strong or sanitary for multiple uses
If you’re new to flossing, don’t be alarmed by a little blood or extra tooth sensitivity. This should resolve within a few days. If it persists, make sure to let your dentist know.
What type of floss should I use?
There are two main types of floss material on the market – Nylon and PTFE. Both types of floss will do the job, however, there are different benefits to each. Nylon floss is made with wax or without wax, in a variety of different flavours. This type of floss my shred or break easily because it is composed of many strands of nylon. PTFE, the more expensive option, is favoured because of its durability. It glides easily between teeth and has a much slimmer chance of tearing or breaking apart.
More recently, people are opting for disposable flossing sticks or interdental floss, which tend to make the job a little bit easier and provide more control. If you find standard floss difficult to use, this may be a great option for you!
Benefits of flossing the right way.
There’s an abundance of benefits to flossing your teeth!
First, flossing your teeth is a preventative oral care method. Flossing helps remove plaque, bacteria and debris that gets easily trapped within the tiny spaces of your teeth.
Second, it prevents tartar build up. When plaque gets stuck and sedentary, it can harden into tartar, which can later lead to cavities, or worse, gum disease.
Third, it prevents gum disease. If you don’t look after your teeth, it is easy for plaque to build up and slowly erode gum tissue leading to periodontal disease or periodontitis. Both are serious oral health issues that will need to be addressed by your dentist.
Finally, flossing ensures your mouth is healthy, clean and odourless. Who doesn’t love fresh breath!
Maintaining a healthy flossing routine will reduce the likelihood of requiring extensive dental care in the future.
Are you flossing like a pro? Let’s see!
Wondering if your flossing skills are doing a good job? Give our clinic a call to set-up a quick check-up.
At your appointment, our dentists and hygienists will take a peek in your mouth and help determine how well you are flossing your teeth. From there, we can chat about your current flossing habits and techniques, and give you additional guidance to improve your oral care.