What is the best way to maintain your dental health? The best dentist in North Raleigh, along with the American Dental Association, strongly recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, visiting your dentist at least annually for a professional cleaning/checkup; and cleaning between your teeth or FLOSSING! Flossing is a critical part of maintaining your dental health. Not only does it remove food that is lodged in between your teeth, but it also prevents plaque from building up around the gum line, which further prevents gum disease. However, in order for flossing to be effective, you must know how to properly floss and repeat on a semi-daily basis. With that in mind, follow these five easy steps to ensure that you are properly flossing your teeth.
1. Start with a clean piece of floss.
It doesn’t necessarily matter what type of floss you use or if it’s flavored – only that you are flossing daily. The best dentist in North Raleigh recommends that if your teeth are very close together, you might want to use a waxed floss as the wax will more easily glide between your teeth. However, if you’re finding that it’s too thick, look for ribbon floss. Ribbon floss is thin and flat and perfectly designed to slide into tight spaces.
Once you’ve found a floss you can live with, pull about 18 inches from the container and clip it. Wind the majority of the floss around your middle finger, but leave about two inches free.
2. Use your index fingers and thumbs to hold the floss.
Now that you’ve got your floss in hand, start with your top teeth by gently sliding it up between two teeth and then down. The floss should go all the way beneath your gum line. In fact, you’ll need to curve it around the tooth’s base in order to properly clean the area between and around each tooth. One common mistake people make while flossing is to simply run the floss up and down without tracing the tooth with the floss. If you want to save your dental hygienist some scraping at your next cleaning appointment, be sure to go all the way around.
3. Move the floss back and forth while bringing it down to remove it.
Once you’re done cleaning around the tooth, it’s time to remove the floss. However, you shouldn’t try to force the floss out or move it too quickly. Gently move the floss back and forth while bringing it down (or up if you’re on the bottom) to remove the floss from between your teeth to properly clean your teeth. Moving too quickly may cause unnecessary injury.
4. Rotate and Repeat.
With each tooth, unwind a small piece of floss from around your fingers and repeat the process. In order to properly clean your teeth, it’s important to use a clean section of floss for each tooth. Once you’re done with your entire mouth, throw away the floss and wash your hands.
5. Rinse your mouth.
Finally, when you’re done flossing, rinse your mouth with water.
As we said in the introduction, it is equally important to floss as it is to brush your teeth morning and night. Failing to floss properly can cause gum disease and cavities that are easily preventable. Not flossing for weeks or months on end will cause your gums to bleed. As such, be sure to make flossing a daily habit. Not only will you notice healthier gums, but the best dentist in North Raleigh will quickly take note of how well you are maintaining your teeth, which means less scraping!
If you have any questions about flossing, feel free to ask us at your next visit. The best dentist in North Raleigh, Dr. Katherine E. Garrett, makes it a habit to take additional time during your appointment to discuss proper oral hygiene with you so that you can continue maintaining a healthy smile long after you leave our office.