When it comes to flossing, you may as well come clean when it admitting whether or not you do it. Your first line of defense in the dentist’s chair, your dental hygienist, is going to know, and know quickly whether or not you’ve made it a habit. Daily flossing is an important part of your oral health care routine. It helps remove the plaque from areas where a toothbrush doesn’t completely reach. However, if you don’t use the right technique, you can’t reap the benefits of your efforts.
Flossing in Four Steps:
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association explains the key elements of proper flossing technique in four simple steps:
- Wind: Wind 18 inches of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a one- to two-inch length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.
- Guide: Keep a 1-2 inch length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.
- Glide: Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. DO NOT SNAP FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.
- Slide: Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.
This method applies to waxed and unwaxed floss. There are benefits to both, it’s a matter of which you prefer. You can start on the bottom or the top, back or front, right or left. Just make sure that you get beneath the gum line and that you make it a part of your daily routine. Flossing isn’t something you do only a few times right before your upcoming dental appointment. Remember what I said about your hygienist? Seriously, they’ll know, and so will your dentist.
Flossing shouldn’t hurt and there is too much of a good thing. If you’re unsure about your technique, or if you have discomfort, call us for an appointment. We can ensure that you’re flossing correctly, using the right oral care products, and aren’t damaging your gums.