We all know that brushing is important, but don’t forget about flossing! It’s just as important AND it takes less time, yet many Americans choose to skip it. If you consider yourself to be one of those less diligent flossers, consider that flossing (together with daily brushing) is integral to preventing tooth loss, cavities, and periodontal gum disease. So if you’re ready to turn over a new leaf and give flossing the attention it deserves (and we hope you are), here are some recommended techniques to ensure you’re flossing the right way:
- Get a grip. The way you hold your floss makes a big difference in how effective you are at cleaning your teeth. Start with a section of floss that is 18 inches long and wind it around each middle finger, leaving a couple of inches of floss in between. Hold the floss in a taut fashion between your index fingers and thumbs and gently guide the floss between your teeth, up and down.
- Don’t neglect the gum line. As well as flossing up and down between your teeth, use the floss to gently scrape the surface of your tooth and under the gum line. Just make sure you aren’t too forceful with the floss, or you may damage your bruise your gum tissue.
- Keep it clean. It’s best to use a clean section of floss as you go from one tooth to another to ensure that each tooth is being cleaned effectively. And if you have any missing teeth, don’t avoid their sides when you floss; they need just as much attention as the rest of your teeth. When you floss, you can begin with the upper teeth first, or choose the lower teeth. What matters is that all your teeth get equal flossing time.
- Wax on.Waxed floss slides between your teeth easily as opposed to unwaxed floss, which tends to shred. Ribbon floss is a good choice because it covers more of your tooth, and it’s also less likely to cut your gums. For added incentive to floss, choose a version that has a cinnamon or mint flavor, which helps leave your mouth feeling fresh.
Learn more about good flossing habits. Contact Dr. Stanly Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.