Impress your dentist at your next checkup by improving your flossing technique. There are many common misconceptions about the flossing practice that people don’t realize they’re doing wrong. With these simple steps, you can become a flossing champion and experience sparkly clean teeth and gums!
Use the Proper Amount of Floss
The American Dental Association recommends using about 18 inches of floss (http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/Files/watch_materials_floss.ashx). This way you have a clean section of floss to go in between every tooth in your mouth. Many people use much shorter floss amounts and end up cleaning their teeth with dirty sections of floss. Although less is usually more, this is not true for floss—use the proper amount so that you’re cleaning the food and plaque out of your teeth, not introducing it back in!
Go under the Gum Line
When flossing, you want to be sure to go gently under the gum line, which is where many hidden food particles tend to hide. The key here is being gentle. If you haven’t flossed in quite some time, your gums may bleed a little. This generally isn’t cause for concern, although you should discuss it during your next dental check up. Gently go underneath the gum line on each side of each tooth. This will take some time to do and to get used to, but soon the habit will stick and your gums will be healthy!
Move Floss Up and Down, not Side to Side
This is a common mistake that many people make while flossing. After you gently wedge the floss in between your teeth, your goal is to move the floss up and down on each side of each tooth, not just rock the floss back and forth at the base of your teeth. This task isn’t difficult but can take some time to develop a habit out of, especially if you’ve been flossing side to side for a long time. Remember to go up and down instead!
Use the Kind That’s Best for You
There are many different types of floss out there and many different flossing tools. The type you use may vary depending on your smile. You can always ask your oral health care professional what type would be best for you to use. If your teeth have more space in between, consider a wider floss such as dental tape. If your teeth fit very tight together, traditional floss will work better.
No matter where, when, or how you floss, remember to be gentle. The same goes for brushing, but when it comes to your gums, sensitivity is even more important. Gently floss, gently brush, and enjoy clean teeth and impress your dentist during your next checkup!
By incorporating these simple flossing tips into your oral care routine, flossing will be more beneficial to you than ever. Go up and down, under the gum line, and use clean floss every time. Floss at least once a day to keep your teeth and gums healthy!
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