Flossing: it’s the number one recommendation by dentists everywhere. Anyone who has ever been to the dentist has had to talk about flossing—and in most cases, shy away from the real number of times they have flossed! In fact, 27 percent of dental patients lie about their oral healthcare routine. With only 4 in 10 Americans flossing every day, there is a serious shortage of healthy teeth and gums.
Brushing is certainly a huge aspect of oral health, but it isn’t enough on its own. Flossing helps protect against plaque buildup, stimulates blood flow to gums, removes harmful bacteria and food particles, and removes harmful bacteria to strengthen your oral microbiome. With so many benefits, why aren’t more people flossing?
The answer is simple: most people simply aren’t doing it correctly. Incorrect flossing technique can not only be painful, but it can result in more harm being done to your teeth and gums than good. If you’re flossing correctly, the process should be both time-efficient and painless.
In the sections below, we’ll show you how to floss like a pro so that you can safely and efficiently add flossing to your daily routine. Trust us: your dentist and your mouth will be thrilled!
Best Flossing Methods
Dentists hear it all the time: flossing causes pain and discomfort, bleeding along the gum line, or is just too time-consuming to do daily. We aren’t always taught how to floss correctly, contributing to all of the complications above (and more). Knowing the right way to floss can turn an uncomfortable, dreaded experience into a regular piece of your oral healthcare routine. Here are some tips on the best methods to floss:
Cut off enough floss
Not using enough floss can make it difficult for you to move around and reach all of the crevices between your teeth, causing strain on your arms, neck, and jaw. Make sure you cut off enough floss so that you have plenty of room to work. Anywhere between 12–18 inches is a good place to start. You should have enough floss to allow a comfortable range of movement while using a new section for each crevice.
Floss before you brush
Yes, you heard that right—the best time to floss is actually before you brush your teeth, not after! This is because flossing helps loosen up any hard-to-reach debris while loosening plaque, making brushing much easier (and much more effective).
Get a firm grip
Hold the string of floss between your thumb and your forefinger. Make sure you have a firm grip so that the floss doesn’t slip out of your fingers and dig into your gum line. This will minimize the pain of cutting into your gums and promote slower movements for a more thorough, precise process.
Use gentle up-and-down motions
Flossing should be a gentle movement. The goal is to use tiny, up-and-down motions to free bacteria, plaque, and food particles from your gum line and between your teeth without causing pain or discomfort. It may take a little bit of extra time when you are first learning to floss—but once you understand the motions, you should be able to floss your entire mouth in five minutes or less.
Flossing doesn’t have to be painful, scary, or time-consuming. Now that you know how to floss like a pro, you’ll be more than prepared to ace your next dental visit! If you have questions on the best kind of floss to use, or want to learn more about flossing tools, reach out to your dentist today.
Schedule a consultation or a checkup with TruBlu Dentistry in Burbank, Chicago, or Hegewisch today!