Why Do We Need to Floss?
Did you know that forgetting to floss means that 40% of your mouth is left uncleaned each day?
Flossing your teeth once a day is crucial in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Flossing cleans in between your teeth and under your gumline, which are important areas of your mouth that your toothbrush can’t reach.
If you don’t floss regularly, you are placing your teeth and gums at a much higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease, which can lead to teeth extractions, root canal treatments, crowns and bridges and even false teeth.
What’s the Right Way to Floss?
To floss your teeth effectively, follow these steps:
- Break off around 45cm of floss (30cm for children) and wind the ends around your middle or index fingers until around 3cm of floss is left in the middle
- Pull the floss tight between your fingers and slide it gently between your teeth
- Next, curve the floss around the base of one tooth so that it moves underneath the gumline; then, gently pull the floss back and forth like a saw; repeat the same process on the other side/other tooth
- To remove the floss from your teeth, tug the floss carefully back and forth while lifting upwards/downwards; then move onto the next gap between your teeth
When to Floss?
Flossing can be done at any time of the day, but most people choose to floss at night, when brushing their teeth before bed.
Choosing the Right Floss
Since different people have different gap sizes between their teeth, many different flosses have been created for different teeth and mouths.
You should choose the floss that is right for you; the floss should fit comfortably between your teeth and should be able to be removed without needing to be harshly pulled.
Waxed floss is great if your teeth are quite tight together, as the wax will make it easier to slide the floss between your teeth. Unwaxed floss, dental tape and super floss are all ideal for those with larger gaps between their teeth.
If you find your floss is continually getting stuck between your teeth, for instance, a thinner, waxed floss may be more beneficial. If your floss is not removing food that you can see between your teeth, try using unwaxed floss or dental tape.
Other Flossing Tools
Prefer not to use your fingers when flossing? You can also buy a dental flosser or a flossing pick, which allows you to floss using a device with a handle, similar to a toothbrush. For those with braces, bridges, crowns or other dental implants, you may find that a threading floss is best.
Other Flossing Tips
- It’s important to be gentle when flossing; don’t yank or force the floss, as this may hurt or bruise your gums
- If you notice food on your floss, make sure you clean and remove it before re-using that portion of floss
- Children should start flossing as soon as any two of their teeth touch each other; if your child is resistant to learning to floss, consider seeking help from your family dentist
Do you floss daily?
Somerset Dental can provide you with advice on whether you are flossing properly, as well as conduct regular checkups and cleans. Contact our local Camden and Narellan dentists on 02 4648 0909.