How to Properly Floss Your Teeth

How to Properly Floss Your Teeth

Flossing 101: Why It’s Important, and How to Do it Easily

Flossing is an important part of dental health. It removes food that is lodged in between the teeth and it keeps plaque from building up around the gum line, helping to prevent disease.

Many patients may just think quickly sticking a piece of floss in between their teeth is beneficial for their dental health. However, flossing should only take about 3-5 minutes, and it’s easily implemented as part of your bedtime routine if you can’t floss in the morning or during lunch.

Repeatedly flossing your teeth will help ensure that your smile stays bright and white. Follow these steps below to ensure that you are flossing efficiently:

1. Start by using a clean piece of floss.

According to the American Dental Association, floss should be around 18 inches in length. Wind the majority of it around your middle finger, leaving about two inches of it free.

2. Use your index fingers and thumbs to hold the floss.

While doing so, gently slide it up between two teeth and then down. It should go all the way beneath your gum line. You will need to curve it around the tooth’s base in order for it to fully clean this area.

3. Remove the piece of floss by moving it back and forth while bringing it down.

Don’t force the floss or try to move it too quickly. Taking your time will prevent injury and ensure you are properly cleaning your teeth.

4. Repeat this process for each tooth.

Making sure not to use the same section of floss, unwind a small piece from around your finger and repeat the process. This will allow you to use a clean section for each of your teeth.

Flossing With Braces

It’s definitely harder to keep your teeth clean while wearing orthodontic braces (not Invisalign braces, as these are removable). But it’s actually more important to floss while wearing braces, thanks to your toothbrush not being able to reach between the teeth as easily.

You can floss the area of your teeth outside of the orthodontic wire, but the gumline portion is a bit trickier. There is a cheap flossing tool available at most pharmacies — and you can ask your dentist for a pack, too — that resembles a sewing threader. This tool is a fine piece of plastic with a loop on one end. Insert the floss through the loop and then push the tail end of the threader between your teeth at the gumline.

Pull the tail all the way through, and the floss will follow, allowing you to floss near the gum line. Gently floss along the edges of your teeth and then hold it vertically so you can sweep and clean around the individual brackets, which is where plaque mostly accumulates for braces patients.

Book Your Next Dental Cleaning at Robert A. Neal, DDS Family Dentistry

The last thing you want after spending months in braces is to have plaque-ridden and stained teeth once the brackets are removed. So, be sure to floss daily!

It is just as important to floss daily as it is to brush your teeth. Failing to floss properly can cause tooth decay and gum disease. If you don't floss regularly, your gums may bleed. By making it a habit to floss daily, you will notice that your gums will be healthier and bleeding will eventually subside.

If you have any questions about flossing, feel free to ask us at your next visit. At Robert A. Neal, DDS Family Dentistry, we make it a habit to take additional time during our appointments to discuss proper oral hygiene with you to help you maintain a healthy smile after you leave our office. Call our team today for an appointment: (972) 200-0656.

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