Proper Flossing Technique

Flossing is a very important part of your overall dental health. Flossing helps remove the sticky substance called plaque that builds up between your teeth. Whether you are using a manual or electric toothbrush, you will never be able to clean effectively between your teeth without flossing.

Benefits of Flossing
Flossing greatly reduces the chance you will develop gingivitis or gum disease. On average, one in every eight Americans develop periodontal disease, which is completely avoidable with continuous brushing, and most importantly, flossing. Flossing your teeth can also make them brighter by removing the plaque and food particles that are causing your teeth to become discolored. It can be difficult to see these tiny particles simply by looking in the mirror but rest assured they are there. Flossing can also reduce the amount of bleeding from your gums by removing the plaque built-up around them, thereby making them healthier. However, you should always consult a dental professional if bleeding persists as this could be an early warning sign of gingivitis.
Different Types of Floss
Floss comes in both waxed and un-waxed versions and using one or the other will not affect your dental health. The big difference between the two is waxed floss will glide between your teeth a little easier then un-waxed. Floss will also come in either a pick or on a spool. While using a pick is convenient and many of our patients require convenience in order to floss regularly, it will not give you the same results as regular string floss. This is because in order to floss properly you want to make a C shape around your tooth so each side is cleaned off (see the video below for a flossing demonstration). You will not be able to floss all sides of your tooth using a floss pick. Another option would be an oral irrigator (also called a water jet). This gently sprays water in between your teeth and forces the plaque and particles out of the crevasses of each tooth. When choosing a flossing agent, you should pick one that makes you feel the most comfortable. A recent poll by the ADA shows that 55% of Americans do not floss because it is too time consuming and inconvenient. Flossing on a consistent basis will increase your oral health, so it is important to choose the right option for you.

What Should You Not Do
According to a study from IPSOS many Americans have used unusual items to clean between their teeth. An astounding 42% of those people said they experienced pain while flossing with these foreign objects, such as knives, forks and credit cards. The best thing for your oral health is to use appropriate items trusted for use by the ADA. Our office never recommends using those types of objects as a substitute for flossing. Floss picks work great in this circumstance as a quick and convenient way to floss your teeth. Put a few in your car or your desk at work and you will always have a safe alternative for a quick floss.


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