Flossing 101: Ways To Do It Properly And The Reason It Matters

Flossing Is One Of Those Things That Many People Know They Should Do, But Often Don’t. In Fact, According To A Survey By The American Dental Association (Ada), Only 16% Of Americans Floss Daily1.

That Means 84% Of Americans Are Missing Out On The Benefits Of Flossing And Putting Their Oral Health At Risk.

Flossing Is Not Just A Cosmetic Or Optional Practice. It’s An Essential Part Of Your Dental Hygiene Routine That Can Help You Remove Plaque, Prevent Gum Disease, And Improve Your Oral Hygiene.

Flossing Can Also Help You Avoid Bad Breath, Tooth Decay, And Other Dental Problems.

In This Post, We’ll Explain Why Flossing Matters And How To Do It Properly. We’ll Also Cover The Different Types Of Floss Available And The Common Mistakes To Avoid When Flossing.

By The End Of This Post, You’ll Have A Better Understanding Of How To Floss Effectively And Enjoy The Benefits Of Flossing.

Types Of Floss

There Are Many Types Of Floss Available In The Market, And Each One Has Its Own Advantages And Disadvantages.

The Best Type Of Floss For You Depends On Your Personal Preference, Your Dental Condition, And Your Budget. Here Are Some Of The Most Common Types Of Floss And Their Pros And Cons:

  • Waxed Floss. This Is A Thin Nylon Thread Coated With Wax To Make It Slide More Easily Between The Teeth. Waxed Floss Is Good For People With Tight Spaces Between Their Teeth Or Braces. However, Waxed Floss Can Sometimes Break Or Shred When Used On Rough Surfaces Or Sharp Edges.
  • Unwaxed Floss. This Is A Plain Nylon Thread That Has No Coating. Unwaxed Floss Is Good For People Who Want More Control Over Their Flossing Or Who Have Wider Spaces Between Their Teeth. However, Unwaxed Floss Can Sometimes Squeak Or Catch On The Teeth When Used.
  • Dental Tape. This Is A Flat Ribbon-Like Floss That Is Wider And Thicker Than Regular Floss. Dental Tape Is Good For People Who Have Large Gaps Between Their Teeth Or Who Find Regular Floss Too Thin Or Hard To Handle. However, Dental Tape Can Sometimes Be Too Bulky Or Slippery For Some People.
  • Interdental Brushes. These Are Small Brushes That Are Designed To Fit Between The Teeth And Clean The Surfaces And Crevices That Regular Toothbrushes Can’t Reach. Interdental Brushes Are Good For People Who Have Implants, Crowns, Bridges, Or Braces. However, Interdental Brushes Can Sometimes Be Too Big Or Too Small For Some Spaces Or Cause Irritation To The Gums If Used Too Vigorously.
  • Water Flossers. These Are Devices That Use A Jet Of Water To Flush Out Plaque And Food Particles From Between The Teeth And Along The Gumline. Water Flossers Are Good For People Who Have Difficulty Using String Floss Or Who Want A More Gentle And Convenient Way Of Flossing. However, Water Flossers Can Sometimes Be Expensive, Noisy, Messy, Or Require Electricity Or Batteries.

To Choose The Best Type Of Floss For You, You Can Try Different Options And See Which One Works Best For You.

You Can Also Ask Your Dentist For Recommendations Based On Your Dental Condition And Needs.

Technique

The Technique You Use When Flossing Is Important To Ensure That You Remove As Much Plaque And Debris As Possible Without Harming Your Gums Or Teeth. Here Are Some Steps To Follow When Using String Floss:

  1. Cut Off About 18 Inches Of Floss And Wind Most Of It Around One Of Your Middle Fingers. Wind The Remaining Floss Around The Same Finger Of The Opposite Hand. This Finger Will Take Up The Used Floss As You Go Along.
  1. Hold The Floss Tightly Between Your Thumbs And Index Fingers And Gently Slide It Between Two Teeth Using A Back-And-Forth Motion.
  1. Curve The Floss Around The Base Of Each Tooth And Make Sure You Go Below The Gumline. Be Careful Not To Snap The Floss Into The Gums Or Rub It Too Hard Against The Teeth.
  1. Use A Clean Section Of Floss For Each Tooth And Move From One Tooth To Another In A Systematic Order.
  1. When You’re Done, Rinse Your Mouth With Water Or Mouthwash To Remove Any Loose Particles.

If You’re Using An Interdental Brush, Follow These Steps:

  1. Choose The Right Size Of Brush For The Space Between Your Teeth. The Brush Should Fit Snugly But Not Too Tightly Or Loosely.
  1. Gently Insert The Brush Between Two Teeth And Move It Back And Forth A Few Times. Do Not Force The Brush Into A Space That Is Too Small Or Twist It Around.
  1. Rinse The Brush After Each Use And Replace It When It Becomes Worn Or Bent.
  1. Use A Different Brush For Each Interdental Space Or Rinse The Brush Thoroughly Before Moving To Another Space.

If You’re Using A Water Flosser, Follow These Steps:

  1. Fill The Reservoir With Lukewarm Water And Add A Small Amount Of Mouthwash If Desired.
  1. Plug In The Device Or Insert The Batteries And Select The Desired Pressure Setting. Start With A Low Setting And Gradually Increase It As You Get Used To It.
  1. Lean Over The Sink And Place The Tip Of The Water Flosser In Your Mouth. Close Your Lips Around The Tip And Turn On The Device.
  1. Aim The Water Jet At A 90-Degree Angle To Your Gum Line And Move It Along Your Teeth, Pausing Briefly Between Each Tooth. Make Sure You Reach All Surfaces Of Your Teeth, Including The Back Ones.
  1. Spit Out The Water As You Go And Turn Off The Device When You’re Done.
  1. Clean The Tip Of The Water Flosser After Each Use And Store It In A Dry Place.

Mistakes

Flossing Is Not A Difficult Task, But It Can Be Easy To Make Some Mistakes That Can Reduce Its Effectiveness Or Cause Harm To Your Oral Health. Here Are Some Common Mistakes That People Make When Flossing And How To Avoid Them:

  • Skipping Teeth. Some People Tend To Skip Some Teeth When Flossing, Especially The Ones That Are Hard To Reach Or Feel Tight. This Can Leave Plaque And Bacteria Behind And Increase The Risk Of Cavities And Gum Disease. To Avoid This Mistake, Make Sure You Floss Every Tooth, Even If It Takes More Time Or Effort. You Can Also Use A Mirror Or A Dental Floss Holder To Help You Reach All Areas Of Your Mouth.
  • Using Too Much Or Too Little Force. Some People Tend To Use Too Much Force When Flossing, Which Can Damage Their Gums Or Teeth. This Can Cause Bleeding, Inflammation, Or Sensitivity. On The Other Hand, Some People Tend To Use Too Little Force When Flossing, Which Can Leave Plaque And Debris Behind And Reduce The Effectiveness Of Flossing. To Avoid This Mistake, Use Gentle But Firm Pressure When Flossing And Adjust It According To Your Comfort Level. You Should Feel Some Resistance But Not Pain When Flossing.
  • Flossing Too Often Or Too Rarely. Some People Tend To Floss Too Often, Which Can Irritate Their Gums Or Wear Down Their Enamel. This Can Make Their Teeth More Prone To Decay Or Sensitivity. On The Other Hand, Some People Tend To Floss Too Rarely, Which Can Allow Plaque And Bacteria To Accumulate And Cause Dental Problems. To Avoid This Mistake, Follow The Ada’s Recommendation Of Flossing Once A Day1. This Is Enough To Remove Plaque And Food Particles From Between Your Teeth And Keep Your Oral Health In Check.
  • Reusing The Same Piece Of Floss. Some People Tend To Reuse The Same Piece Of Floss For Multiple Teeth Or Multiple Sessions, Which Can Spread Bacteria And Germs From One Area To Another. This Can Increase The Risk Of Infection Or Cross-Contamination. To Avoid This Mistake, Use A Fresh Piece Of Floss For Each Tooth And Discard It After Each Use. You Can Also Cut Off A Long Piece Of Floss And Use Different Sections For Different Teeth.

Tips

To Keep Your Teeth Clean And Healthy, Here Are A Few Tips For Proper Flossing, Brushing, And Rinsing:

Conclusion

Flossing Is An Important Part Of Your Dental Hygiene Routine That Can Help You Remove Plaque, Prevent Gum Disease, And Improve Your Oral Hygiene. Flossing Can Also Help You Avoid Bad Breath, Tooth Decay, And Other Dental Problems.

To Get The Most Out Of Flossing, You Should Choose The Best Type Of Floss For You, Use The Proper Technique, And Avoid Common Mistakes. You Should Also Follow Some Tips To Keep Your Teeth Clean And Healthy With Brushing And Rinsing.

We Hope This Post Has Helped You Understand How To Floss Properly And Why It Matters. If You Have Any Questions Or Feedback, Feel Free To Leave A Comment Below Or Contact Us Directly.

Thank You For Reading And Happy Flossing!

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