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The Right Way To Floss For Oral Health

We’ve all heard it a hundred times: you need to brush and floss regularly, ideally twice daily, to maintain optimal dental hygiene for life. But in spite of the general knowledge of the importance of flossing, only around 40% of US adults actually floss even once a day on average.
Additionally, even those who floss regularly don’t always floss correctly. And almost everyone underestimates the dangers non-flossing poses to the oral health over the long term.

The Dangers Of Neglecting To Floss
It’s easy to forget to floss if you don’t make a point of doing so as part of your regular dental hygiene routine. Force of habit can take over in either direction, with correspondingly positive or negative results.

When you don’t floss, tiny particles of food (“food debris”) get trapped in your interdental spaces, and stay there. Your toothbrush bristles can’t reach as deep between teeth nor scrape plaque off the sides of your teeth like floss can. And a toothpick can’t get everything a stretch of floss can either.

Over time, non-flossed teeth run a big risk of developing cavities, which if not caught in time, could require a root canal, or an extraction and dental implant, to correct. Also, don’t overlook the fact that feed debris caught between teeth may lie on your interdental gum tissue and lead to gingivitis or a worse form of gum disease.

Floss Rightly For Optimal Dental Hygiene
Many who understand the reason why flossing is crucial and even those who floss after every meal, don’t always know the proper way to floss between teeth. If you use a floss stick & pick, it’s a lot simpler, but here is the proper method for string floss:

  1. First, cut off an 18-inch piece of floss. Wrap it around your middle finger on each hand and hold it tight with your thumb and pointer finger on each hand. This is the most effective floss grip for the greatest control while flossing.
  2. Begin in the back of your mouth on one jaw (upper or lower), and move in an orderly way so you don’t double-floss some teeth while missing others.
  3. Use waxed floss if your teeth are tight together, but regular floss otherwise. Slip the floss down to the gums and gently rub against one tooth in each interdental space. Then do it again for the opposite tooth.
  4. When done, view your teeth in the mirror and use a toothpick or dental pick to take care of any particles that the floss did not dislodge or that are lingering anywhere on your teeth.
  5. Never reuse old floss. Throw the floss in the trash can after using it only once. Used floss loses stiffness and gains bacteria – both big negatives during any future use!
  6. After flossing, brush your teeth. Then wash out your mouth with water and/or with antiseptic mouth rinse. This will take care of anything the floss left behind.

It can take a little while to get used to proper flossing technique. It’s not a natural skill but one you have to learn. But the long term benefits for your dental hygiene make it well worth overcoming the learning curve and forming the habit!

To learn more about the importance of flossing to your dental hygiene, feel free to contact periodontist Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik today in Volusia & Flagler Counties, Florida.

Located in Beautiful Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is conveniently located off of Nova Road in Ormond Beach, Florida. We help seniors, adults, and teenagers smile with confidence.