One very popular way to keep your teeth healthy is to floss regularly. Using dental floss is a great way to remove excess debris and stubborn plaque that most toothbrushes can’t reach. Why is this seemingly insignificant task so important? Because tooth decay and gum disease tend to develop in these hard to reach areas of your teeth. To reach these areas, it is very important that you learn how to properly floss your teeth.
The Preferred Method
Before you even start flossing, you need to consider the length of dental floss you’ll need. In most cases, 18 inches should do quite nicely. Now, wrap the ends of the dental floss around your middle fingers. The section between your middle fingers can then be moved between your teeth in a gentle back-and-forth motion. Keep in mind that you need to bring the floss close to the gum line. However, never force it under your gums. Afterward you finish with the space between your teeth, you’ll need to floss in a C-shape around one of your teeth. Once you finish with the first tooth, repeat the steps described above for all of them.
Another important thing to remember is to floss the back sides of your teeth as well. Make sure to use the floss’ clean section for every tooth. Gargle with some water after you finish flossing, so that any lingering food debris will be removed. It is highly recommended that you floss at least once a day. Most dentists also recommend that you use unwaxed floss, because it is thinner and can slide easily between your teeth. If you’re new to this, you should also expect some bleeding. This is fairly common and should stop eventually, once flossing has become routine. If the bleeding does not stop, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Why this is important
It’s important to floss, because brushing your teeth just isn’t enough to keep tooth decay and gum disease completely at bay. Studies have shown that people who don’t floss regularly and properly are more susceptible to the buildup of plaque. Once this happens, it only takes a few days for the plaque to harden and become tartar, which can only be removed by dentists. In other words, once a person flosses regularly and properly, then instances of plaque and tartar buildup will be severely reduced.
Learning how to floss properly usually takes persistent practice. You can also ask your dentist to demonstrate it for you. This can help in visually understanding what the most effective methods are. But learning how to do something properly is different from developing it as a habit. To make flossing habitual, it is recommended that you associate it with a trigger-activity, such as watching your favorite television program or listening to music. If you successfully do so, you’ll be naturally reminded to floss whenever the trigger-activity occurs.