You probably know that brushing alone won't take care of your oral hygiene -- you hear it all the time from commercials, your dentist, probably even from your mother. You probably know they're all right, too.
With regular dental cleanings, your dentist can help prevent the crevices between your teeth from becoming a playground for all kinds of dental diseases including cavities and bad breath. But you can also play an integral role in the health of your teeth and gums by making sure to floss at least once a day -- especially before going to bed.
If it isn't already, be sure to make dental floss part of your oral hygiene toolkit. Dental floss is great for cleaning the areas between your teeth because it can reach where your toothbrush can't.
Floss is available waxed or unwaxed, flavored or unflavored, thin or wide. The kind of floss you want is entirely up to you, though you might want to consider that waxed floss slips in between teeth easier, and smooth, soft floss provides maximum comfort for your gums. Of course, flavor doesn't hurt either.
How to Floss Teeth
Flossing seems easy enough, but you'll want to make sure you're doing it right to maximize the benefits of all your effort. Compare your flossing techniques to the steps below, and make adjustments to your routine wherever necessary.
- Break off just over an arm's length of floss.
- Loosely wind about six inches of floss around your middle finger and use your thumb to hold it in place.
- Hold and straighten the floss with the thumb and pointer finger of your other hand.
- Use a gentle back and forth motion to guide the floss between your teeth.
- Make sure to never "snap" the floss into your gums.
When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it against your tooth and gently slide it under your gums and then away from your gum line.
Wind the used floss around your middle finger as you go.
Learning how to floss teeth properly can be the difference between a clean, healthy mouth and one riddled with tooth decay and gum disease. Keep in mind that while there are no guarantees when it comes to your dental health, solid oral hygiene habits, combined with regular dental visits, is the best insurance your teeth have.
For more guidance on proper oral health care, talk to a dentist. If you don't have one, we can help you find one! Click here to watch a video on proper flossing techniques