“Have you been flossing?” Your dental hygienist probably asks you that at every dentist appointment, and hopefully your answer is yes. But just because you floss regularly doesn’t mean you’re doing it right. That’s right; it’s more than just sawing a string back and forth between your teeth. We’ve put together some tips to make sure you’re flossing correctly.
Before you can even start flossing correctly, you have to make sure you have floss you’ll use. There are a variety of floss types on the market. Our favorites include waxed string floss (the wax helps it slide easily between tight teeth) and pre-strung floss picks. For the rest of our tips, we’ll talk about how to floss using the waxed string variety.
Pull about 18 inches of floss from the container. Wind most of this length around each of your middle fingers, but leave one to two inches of floss between your hands to work with. Grasp this middle bit between the thumb and forefinger of each hand and pull the floss taut. Now you’re ready to start flossing!
Pick an area to start – it’s often easiest to start at the back of the mouth on one side – and slide the floss between the first two teeth. Slide the floss up and down first. Then curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making a C-shape. Make sure you get below the gum line, too, because bacteria likes to hide out there. If the teeth are tight, gently slide back and forth until the floss slides between them. Never force the floss or snap it down as this can damage the gum tissue.
As you move between teeth, make sure to adjust your grip and use new sections of the floss. That’s why you start with so much, after all! Work your way from one side of the mouth to the other, and complete one arch and then the other. All told, a good flossing should take a couple of minutes.
If you still feel like your flossing technique leaves a little to be desired, let us know at your next appointment. We’ll go over it with you, watch you floss, and give you pointers. Schedule your next appointment online or give us a call. We can’t wait to see your smile!