Proper oral hygiene involves brushing your teeth twice every day and flossing on a daily basis. Though you may adhere to a thorough dental care schedule, you will not keep your smile clean and healthy if you do not use the correct technique to floss.
If plaque remains on your teeth, it will eat away at your tooth enamel and give you cavities and other severe dental problems. Though you can seek treatment for any issues from your dentist, you will want to preserve your oral health with effective preventative at-home dental care. Read on to learn about the dentist-recommended method for flossing your teeth.
Get a Firm Hold of Your Floss
When preparing to floss your teeth, you will want to begin by maintaining a solid grip on your floss. This starts with securing an 18-inch string of floss. Wrap each end of the floss around the middle fingers of each hand.
Then you should pinch the string, holding it between the index finger and thumb of both hands. You should have about one inch of string in this section which you will use to floss your teeth.
This position allows you to have a stable foundation to floss while maintaining flexibility to move it as needed. You can also slide the string using the wrapped portions around the middle fingers to reveal a clean section of floss after using the previous bit.
Maneuver the Floss with Purpose
With a good hold on your floss, you can then begin the process of flossing between your teeth. Gently insert the floss between two of your teeth. Then you will press it against one side of the tooth and rub it up and down.
After a few motions, stay in the same position and press the floss to the side of the other tooth and rub it up and down again. Then you can remove the floss and repeat this process for all of your teeth.
The careful movement ensures that you do not irritate the gum tissue. If you experience frequent bleeding from your gums, ask your dentist for a periodontal disease screening at your next appointment.
Evaluate Alternative Flossing Tools
Dentists agree that this traditional flossing tool and method is an effective way to clean plaque and other harmful residues from between your teeth. However, some patients may want to consider other flossing devices that can give them a more targeted oral hygiene experience.
For instance, patients with braces or other fixed orthodontic appliances might want to use floss picks. These feature a string of floss attached to a plastic handle. They can more easily maneuver between metal wires and brackets to ensure teeth get clean.
Another alternative flossing tool is a water flosser. This device generates a stream of irrigated water that a patient can aim between their teeth to clear and rinse away lingering plaque. Patients with dental implants or other fixtures in their smiles may benefit from using this tool.