Why You Should Floss
Flossing is an important part of your oral hygene routine. There are many ways to clean between your teeth. We’ll cover the important things: what to use, when to floss, and five easy steps to a brighter, healthier smile.
What to Use When You Floss
There are several options for cleaning between teeth. You might choose to use dental floss or another product specifically made for this purpose like a dental pick, pre-threaded flosser, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth, water flosser or other options. Ask your dentist how to use them properly to avoid injuring your gums. It could be that you simply need to try another type of dental floss—waxed, unwaxed, thick or comfort floss. Stick with it and you’ll have adopted a healthy habit for life.
Talk to your dentist about what types of dental care products will be most effective for you.
When You Should Floss
A Spring 2015 MouthHealthy.org poll asked readers if they brush before or after they floss. The results were close: 53% said they brush before, while 47% said after.
So who’s right? Technically, everyone. The most important thing about cleaning between your teeth is to do it. As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter when. Pick a time of day when you can devote an extra couple of minutes to your dental care. People who are too tired at the end of the day may benefit from cleaning between their teeth first thing in the morning or after lunch. Others might like to go to bed with a clean mouth.
How to Floss in 5 Easy steps
We know we should floss at least once a day, but not everyone knows the right way to do it. Use this step-by-step guide to find out how to properly floss your teeth:
Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.
Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be as effective and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth.
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