• How to Properly Floss

    Proper flossing is an important part of a good dental care regimen. This is because flossing can rid your teeth and gums of food and plaque particles in places that are easily missed by toothbrushes. Otherwise, bits of food that are close to the gumline or between teeth can linger. This causes bacterial buildup that leads to bad breath, tooth decaycavities, and gum disease.

    Proper Flossing Techniques

    You should floss at least once per day, although some dentists recommend flossing after every meal. Bedtime is ideal, because your saliva flow slows down during sleep and thus doesn’t wash away as much bacteria overnight. It should take just a minute to do your entire mouth; work methodically (top to bottom, left to right) in the same order each time. Start by winding about 18 inches of floss around each middle or index finger, leaving only an inch or two of taut floss between fingers. Slide the floss gently up and down to scrape the sides of your teeth. A back and forth motion will allow the floss to work itself deeper. At the base of each tooth, work floss underneath the gumline as much as you can. Gum tissue is delicate, so be gentle. Move the length of floss between your fingers so you are exposing each tooth to a clean segment.

    Types of Floss

    You’ll normally find two types of regular floss – nylon floss, which contains multiple filaments, and PTFE (Teflon) floss, which has just one filament. Nylon comes waxed and unwaxed, and in different flavors. It can shred because of the multiple fibers. PTFE floss doesn’t shred, but it’s also more expensive. Ultimately, both types of floss work well. Dentists often recommend waxed nylon floss because it slides more easily between teeth and doesn’t shred as much. They also favor ribbon-like wider floss over fine floss, because it covers a larger potion of each tooth and is less likely to cut the gums. Wider floss is also preferable for people with bigger gaps between their teeth.

    Floss Picks and Alternatives

    Floss picks are pre-threaded floss holders that can be more convenient for people on the go, and may help make it easier to reach the back areas of your mouth. You can choose from many different options, like flexible picks, or picks designed for those who wear braces. Some are disposable and some have disposable tips. You will also find electronic oral irrigators such as water picks; these aim a blast of water at teeth to help loosen food particles. Brushes, metal picks, and stick-like implements are also available as possible alternatives. These tools help make flossing easier for many people. There are many different options for flossing your teeth, although using regular string floss is usually sufficient and often preferred by dentists. However you choose to floss, you will be improving your oral health by incorporating it into your daily dental care routine.

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