Flossing Teeth Effectively
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 12/18/2018
Brushing your teeth regularly is only the half the battle when it comes to proper dental hygiene. The American Dental Association also recommends cleaning between your teeth with floss at least once a day. Dental floss goes where your toothbrush often cannot reach, cleaning under the gumline and between your teeth to remove plaque and food particles.
To ensure your flossing is effective, be sure to use the proper technique.
How do I floss properly?
Start by pulling about 18 to 24 inches of dental floss from the dispenser, or enough to be able to wrap the ends of the floss around your index and middle fingers and leave about an inch or two of floss with which to work. Holding the floss tight between your fingers, gently curve it around each tooth in a C shape and slide the middle section up and down between your teeth.
It is important to be gentle, as snapping or forcing the floss can cut or bruise your gum tissue. Move from tooth to tooth, making sure to go beneath the gum line at the base of each tooth. And don’t forget to floss the backside of your last teeth!
What type of floss should I use?
Most dentists will provide you with a dispenser of dental floss after each regular appointment. But if you need to purchase more from the store, you’ll have the choice between nylon floss and polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) floss. The former is available waxed and unwaxed, and is composed of several strands of nylon that may tear or shred while in use. The latter is more shred-resistant and slides easily between even the tightest of spaces between teeth.
Both types of floss are effective for removing plaque and food particles.