Dental professionals are always touting the benefits of flossing. Perhaps you are sold on the idea that this is a necessary part of your oral care routine but are unsure of the methods to use for optimal results. Here are 9 tips for more effective flossing:
1. Begin by getting your hands clean with an antibacterial soap. If you haven’t flossed in a while, you may experience some bleeding, and you don’t want germs from your hands to infect your gums.
2. You will want to use about a foot and a half of floss (a guess is just fine – no need for a tape measure in the bathroom). Wind most of the floss around your two middle fingers. You only need about two inches to actually run between your teeth. The extra floss gives you stability and
allows you to change to a new section of the floss periodically rather than just transferring bacteria from one place to another with the same little piece of floss.
3. Use your thumbs and index fingers to hold the floss (aren’t you glad you wrapped it around your middle fingers?), and gently guide it between your teeth by gliding it back-and-forth.
4. Don’t use the floss like a saw. Rather, curve it into a c-shape and glide it gently up and down the side of each tooth.
5. Extract the floss from between teeth with the same gentle motion you used to guide it in. Note: Close teeth may make it tempting to push the floss in between your teeth or pull it out sharply, but that’s just a good way to cut your gums, so stick to gliding it back-and-forth.
6. Be sure to get below the gumline when sliding the floss up and down.
7. As you move from tooth to tooth, use clean sections of floss.
8. If you floss first, brush your teeth well afterward. If you brush first, you may want to use a mouth rinse afterward to make sure all of the bacteria your just loosened is removed from your mouth.
9. If you choose to use a floss pick, just be sure not to transfer bacteria. Floss picks have been proven to be effective at cleaning teeth. The main concern, especially if you are just beginning to floss, is taking bacteria from all over your mouth and accidentally pushing it into a cut in the gums. You can always use several floss picks during your flossing session. Just switch to a new one as they get dirty.