We hate to sound like a broken record, but if you don’t floss already, you should start incorporating it into your daily dental regimen. Flossing is incredibly important to your overall oral health, and it is recommended that you floss at least once a day after brushing your teeth, though twice a day is even better. In today’s blog, your New Jersey dental office is going to talk all about flossing, different ways to floss, and why it is so important. Keep reading to learn more!
3 Flossing Tools
There are several ways to floss, and all of them are better than not flossing at all. The “old school” method of flossing involves taking approximately 18 inches of dental floss and winding it around your fingers. After flossing between two teeth, you can rewind the floss so the next set of teeth gets a clean section. This is a fool-proof flossing method.
After some time with this method came flosser picks. This is a plastic stick with a U-shaped feature on the end with about an inch of dental floss connecting the tips of the ‘U’. This tool is popular because it is easier to do than traditional flossing and can even reach the back teeth better. However, it also causes an issue where you might spread bacteria between teeth and it makes it difficult to use the proper flossing technique which we will discuss below.
In recent years, you have likely seen people using water picks, with the most popular name brand being Waterpik. This is a system that uses a small motor to send a tiny jet of water between teeth. Many people find this to be a little messy, though studies have shown it is effective. While the flossing methods above use a sweeping motion to get rid of food and buildup between teeth, a water pick simply blasts it away. This is a good option for people who have a hard time holding traditional floss, those who have braces or permanent retainers, or those who are simply more likely to floss if they have a cool gadget. Studies have shown positive results for this machine’s ability to remove plaque and improve gum health by gently massaging the gums.
How To Floss
As you can see above, it would take a while to explain the exact method of flossing for all three tools we have listed. Therefore, we’ll stick with what we know best and lay out a proper flossing method when using traditional dental floss. After all, this is about more than simply sticking the floss between your teeth and pulling it out as quickly as possible. It is one of the only times that the surfaces between your teeth (interdental) get cleaned, it removes plaque and food particles, it massages your gums to increase healthy circulation, and perhaps most importantly, it is one of the best ways to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can lead to a very painful and dangerous situation.
Flossing Steps From Your Dentist
- Start with about 18 inches of floss and wrap it around your fingers on each hand in a way that is comfortable. Grab the loose string between your thumb and forefinger and pull it taut.
- Choose a pair of teeth to start with, and gently guide the floss between the teeth.
- Pull the floss back and forth as you move it up to the top of the teeth and down to the gums.
- Then, carefully curve the floss around the base and gum line of each tooth, continuing that back and forth motion. While it may seem uncomfortable, you will want to go slightly below the gumline when you do this.
- Then, work the floss out from between the teeth.
- Rewrap the floss so you have a clean section between your fingers.
- Repeat steps above until you have flossed between all of your teeth.
What Type Of Floss Should I Use?
When you look in the dental section of the store, you are likely greeted with dozens of brands and kinds of dental floss. Some are mint-flavored, some are blue, some are white, some are flat like a piece of tape while others are rounder like a rope. How are you to choose? Thankfully, this is mostly up to personal preference. Though, there are a few things to consider.
Most basic flosses are made out of nylon or a similar synthetic material that consists of thirty or more tiny strands twisted together. If your teeth are tightly arranged, this can lead the floss fraying. If that is an issue, you can use dental tape, which is flat and made out of a single piece of material. This is a little more expensive but holds up better during a flossing session.
It’s Not All About Brushing And Flossing
While brushing and flossing twice daily are incredibly important, those actions alone are not enough to have great oral hygiene. Be sure to schedule a dentist appointment at either of our two dentist offices in New Jersey. With dentist offices in Jackson and Eatontown, we’re always here when you need us!