Flossing doesn’t always make it into the daily oral hygiene routine. However, flossing plays an important role in breaking down plaque and bacteria, which are the primary culprits for gum disease. When flossing is not a part of your dental care routine, tartar builds up, which can only be removed by a dental professional. If you’re interested in keeping you and your family’s mouth free from cavities, follow these best practices:
When Should I Floss?
According to a 2018 study done by the American Academy of Periodontology, the best time to floss your teeth is prior to brushing them. Researchers found, after studying floss-brush and brush-floss methods, that flossing teeth before brushing greatly reduced the amount of plaque found in the mouth than flossing after brushing.
Flossing before brushing breaks down plaque, food, and other build up first. The loose plaque and food build up is then discarded from the mouth while brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth out with water.
What is the Best Type of Floss?
Standard string floss works best for the traditional flossing method because it will give you more dexterity when going in between teeth as opposed to flossing tools that only provide a small portion of string to work with. If you are unable to use standard floss, other options can include: water floss (for people with apparatuses and braces), dental picks, or other handheld dental devices that are designed to reach between the teeth. All items related to flossing can be easily found at your local drugstore.
The Flossing Process
According to the American Dental Association, when working with waxed floss, it is best to use about 18 inches of string.
Once you have the proper amount of floss, wind the string around your middle fingers. This will allow you to grip onto the portion you will floss with between your index fingers and thumbs.
Gently move the floss between your teeth. Once you reach the top of your gums you can move the floss into a C shape in order to move the floss upwards under the gum. Be sure to repeat this method on every tooth, including the last ones on the end.
For those who are getting back into flossing, don’t be discouraged if the first few times flossing results in a bit of irritation and light bleeding. The more you floss, the less your gums will become agitated!