As a dentist I frequently advise patients to floss more often. Flossing is the key to preventing tartar build-up at the gum line and to reduce bleeding between teeth from inflamed gum tissue. Flossing helps to keep your gums healthy,reduce your risk for tooth decay and helps prevent bad breath yet many avoid flossing or simply do not know how to floss effectively.
The purpose of flossing is to remove food particles that become lodged in places a toothbrush cannot reach, such as under the gum line and between the teeth. Flossing should not take the place of brushing – to get the best oral health and fresh clean breath you need to do both.
To floss more effectively, find a floss product that is easy to use and comfortable. Floss comes lots of varieties wide, thin, tape, waxed and unwaxed, there are also floss brushes and single-use floss sticks. There is no right or wrong floss – my advice is to use a floss that you find comfortable and makes flossing more enjoyable otherwise you may put off flossing if you find it too difficult.
To make the most of flossing its important that you use the proper technique so that you don’t injure your gums or leave bits of food and plaque bacteria behind.
* To begin flossing correctly, start with a piece of floss about 45cm in length. Wind the excess floss around your middle fingers and keep about 5cm handy between thumb and index finger for use between the teeth.
* Use a gentle rocking motion between the teeth to work the floss along the natural curve of the teeth and also where each tooth meets the gum line.
* Do not snap the floss against the gums. Doing so can cause damage to the gum tissue.
* Angle the floss so it forms a “C” shape and hugs the tooth. Slide the floss up and down each tooth and make sure it gently goes a little below the gum line. Repeat on the opposite side of each tooth as well.
* As you floss each tooth, release clean floss from your fingers so you have a fresh area for cleaning the next tooth.
* Follow up flossing with brushing to remove any bits of food and plaque. Then rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.
It is advisable to floss twice a day before brushing. However, once a day will be sufficient and should be reserved for before bed.
The keys to becoming a good flosser are practice and perseverance – take your time, stand in front of a mirror, start by doing your easy to reach front teeth and as you get more used to it you will find that doing your harder to reach back teeth is easy.
For healthy teeth and gums, fresh clean breath and a smile you can be proud of daily flossing, brushing and regular dental visits really do make all the difference.
If its been 6 months or more since your last dental visit or you have any concerns about your dental health then call us today 07 3720 1811