You’ve heard the question before, right? It creeps up on you almost every time you visit the dentist. Do you floss regularly? Although most of us are in the habit of brushing twice a day, we can sometimes miss the simple act of flossing. Is flossing really that important? Well, as the saying goes – you should only floss the teeth you plan to keep. And, it’s true. Next to brushing, flossing is the most important thing you can do to ensure good oral hygiene.
Brushing only cleans the outer surfaces of the teeth, where flossing cleans the tight spaces between the teeth and the gap between the base of the teeth and the gums. Brushing alone can’t reach these hard to reach spaces. And, while an antimicrobial mouth wash is a good addition to your oral hygiene routine, it cannot remove the plaque buildup on or in between teeth.
Okay, so flossing is great, we get it. But, flossing correctly is also important.
This is what you need to do:
- Select the floss that suits you best. Waxed dental floss tends to slide between teeth more easily. For kids, we generally recommend interdental picks that come in a wide variety of shapes and colours.
- Don’t just slide the floss up and down, instead, wrap the floss around your fingers and curl the floss around each tooth in a C-shape, moving it up and down to scrape the side of each tooth and sliding it gently under the gum line. Then floss back and forth to remove additional debris. When you’re done, move the floss back out the way it went in.
- Take a new section of floss and repeat for each tooth. Using the same section of floss for multiple teeth just moves the bacteria from one place to another.
- Don’t forget your back molars. It may be a little hard to get back there, but this is a crucial part of the flossing process.
- Rinse with mouthwash or water to get rid of all the debris that was dislodged when you flossed.
- Most important, don’t forget to floss at least once a day.
If you’re bleeding, it doesn’t mean that you should stop flossing. In general, bleeding gums are a sign you need to floss more often. The bleeding should reduce once you make it a regular habit to floss.
Be sure to tune into this space for more oral hygiene and dental tips. If you have any questions, send us a request and we will be sure to cover it on an upcoming blog post. Until next time happy flossing.