Of all the things you can do to maintain a healthy mouth, flossing is probably the least expensive. But many patients don’t take the time to floss. And if you do, you might not be doing it correctly. Here’s a little tutorial we call Flossing 101.
Why should you floss?
Your toothbrush isn’t enough to brush away the plaque that can build up between teeth and at the gum line. A complete dental routine includes both brushing and flossing.
How often should you floss?
Once a day is ideal. Believe it or not, flossing more often (or with more rigor) can damage your gums. The only exception to once-a-day flossing is if you need to remove pieces of stringy or sticky foods that get stuck after eating. Don’t leave those in there too long.
Should you floss before or after brushing?
Either one is fine. Though it might be better to do prior to brushing to loosen things up for the brush to remove.
How should you floss?
Pull out about 18 inches of floss (any brand is fine). Wind the floss tightly around your index or middle fingers on both hands so that the floss between your hands is taut. Slide the floss between each set of teeth that touch, as well as where your last molar meets your gums. Slide the floss up and down the teeth, following the natural curve of each tooth in a “C” shape. Imagine the floss giving each tooth a little hug! Floss between teeth and where your teeth meet your gums. Use a new clean section of floss for each set of teeth.
You can find a more detailed explanation by viewing this document from the American Dental Association. Or you can also ask one of the Toothboss hygienists.
If arthritis in your hands or another condition prevents you from flossing adequately, consider a dental pick, oral irrigator, or electric flosser. Give us a call at 781-335-0604 or ask about options at your next visit. We will help find a solution for you.