Brushing your teeth twice a day isn’t the only way to a healthier smile. In August, both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the ADA confirmed the importance of flossing. “Cleaning between teeth with floss and the use of other tools such as interdental brushes is an important oral hygiene practice and, along with professional cleanings and regular brushing, has been shown to disrupt and remove plaque.”
Flossing is something that everyone loves to talk about ... but that very few like to do. So far we’ve used this space on our website to cover some fun and unusual ways to keep your teeth whiter as well as some great tips for brushing your way to a brighter smile. Today we'll cover that not so fun topic, 10 Fantastic Flossing Tips, in a positive way!
Did you know?
- 27% of adults lie to their dentist about how often they brush their teeth (American Academy of Periodontology)
- Only 4 out of 10 American brush their teeth every day (American Dental Association)
- 18% of Americans would rather do the dishes than floss (AAP)
- 18.5 of Americans don’t floss at all (they must be busy doing the dishes) (ADA)
Tip #1: Floss Every Day
Flossing isn’t a ton of fun, but for it to be truly effective, you need to commit to it! Not only does daily flossing help prevent gum disease, but the likeliness of suffering from an illness linked to unhealthy gums (like heart disease) will decrease.
Related: Floss. Do it. Now.
Tip #2: Pick a Time, Anytime
Some folks prefer to floss in the morning and start the day out fresh while others prefer to end the day on a flossing note. It truly doesn’t matter when you floss. All that matters is that you floss daily!
Tip #3: Floss Before Brushing Your Teeth (or After)
What comes first: the chicken or the egg? Who cares?! Some dentists will tell you that you absolutely must floss before you brush your teeth so the action of brushing removes any loosened deposits, however, others will tell you to brush your teeth first so the beneficial fluoride gets right in between your teeth. The bottom line: floss daily, whenever you’d like.
Tip #4: Teach Your Children Well
Start teaching your children good oral hygiene as soon as their first teeth emerge. When your child has two teeth that touch, then it’s time to pull out the floss. Because flossing requires a good deal of manual dexterity, some children may not be able to floss independently until they’re a bit older. Look for flossers made just for kids to make the job a little easier and a lot more fun!
Tip #5: How to Floss with Floss
Use about 18 inches of floss, winding most of the floss around your middle fingers. Holding the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up and down along the sides of each tooth. Carefully curve the floss around the base of each tooth for a thorough cleaning. Be sure to use a clean section of floss for each tooth. If it’s been a few weeks (or, more) since your last flossing attempt, don’t be surprised if you see some minor bleeding. Be gentle and stick with it! The more you floss, the healthier your mouth will be.
Tip #6: Toss the Floss
Once you’ve flossed, toss the floss! Dental Floss should never be reused.
Tip #7: Embrace Interdental Picks
If flossing sounds a bit too messy and a bit too complicated, then interdental picks may be right choice for you. In fact, studies have shown that interdental picks may be even more effective than traditional dental floss for removing deposits between teeth and stimulating gums. They come in a variety of sizes, so be sure to find one that fits well with your mouth.
Tip #8: Braces and Dental Work Are Not an Excuse!
In fact, if you have braces, a dental bridge, retainer, or other dental appliances, flossing is extra important! Special orthodontic floss or floss threaders help you get between your teeth, then all you need to do is carefully slide and glide the floss around each tooth.
Tip #9: Shine a Brighter Light
Be sure to floss your teeth in a well-lit area to ensure that you’re getting in all the nooks and crannies!
Tip #10: Fresh, Clean Water is Your Flossing Friend
For those who tend to have sensitive gums that are prone to bleeding, have a glass of cool water on hand to rinse and soothe your gums.
For a professional flossing, call the office of Steven R. Hecklin, DMD at 615-356-7500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.