You may have heard recently from a friend or on social media that flossing isn’t necessary for your oral health. Like many of the sudden shifts in common practices you’re likely to find online, this one isn’t true. Flossing is still a critical part of your dental hygiene routine and is essential to your oral health. And flossing properly makes all the difference.
Our provider Woo Young Lee, DDS — and the rest of us at Grace Dental Group — wants to help you take care of your teeth as best you can in your oral health routine. That’s why we not only recommend that you floss but also that you do it the right way.
To floss or not to floss? (Answer: Floss!)
Yes, flossing is still significant, and it’s still necessary. According to a 2016 statement released by the American Dental Association, the government has not changed its stance on encouraging people to floss. In addition, flossing has been shown to help remove the buildup of plaque between teeth, a problem that can lead to periodontal disease, among other issues.
The National Institutes of Health stated that long-term studies of flossing habits are considerably hard to find. However, this doesn’t mean you should put down the floss. Dentists can tell just by looking at your mouth whether you floss or not, and one of the first suggestions for red, swollen, or bleeding gums is to start flossing.
But let’s say you’ve never flossed before or aren’t sure if you’re doing it right. Well, you’re in luck because we’re happy to give you the scoop!
Flossing properly — and why it’s important
Flossing isn’t just essential to your oral health; you have to do it right. So use the tips below to floss the right way, and you’ll start seeing beneficial results.
1. Floss, then brush
Many people who floss every day might be shocked to learn they’re not using proper technique when they brush and floss after. This is because they should be flossing first, then brushing.
But what difference does it make? Flossing works to dislodge plaque, food particles, and other nastiness from between your teeth while brushing clears it away. You don’t want to clean and then unearth plaque; it’s much more effective to do it the other way around.
2. Floss every day
Some people only floss if the mood strikes them. But to see long-term benefits and to ensure your mouth resists the buildup of plaque, it’s better to floss every day. However, unlike brushing, which most dentists recommend doing twice a day, you only need to floss once daily.
3. Technique is everything
Flossing technique is another critical part of flossing properly. First, you’ll want to take a piece of floss about 18 inches long and wrap each side of it around your middle fingers several times.
Then you’ll need to move the floss between your teeth. Use an up-down motion rather than a side-to-side motion. Finally, make sure to get both sides of the teeth between which you are flossing.
4. Different strokes for different folks
Not everyone will want to use the same type of floss. For example, you may have teeth that are very close together, while your partner may have teeth that are far apart, and your child may have braces. You should all consider using different types of floss.
If you’ve been using the same type of floss forever and it hasn’t been working for you, try changing it up based on these suggestions.
- Regular nylon floss is best for those whose teeth are a typical distance from one another.
- People who have very close teeth might want to use nylon floss with a wax coating on it, making it easier to get between the teeth.
- Dental tape is an excellent option for those with teeth that are farther apart because it’s thicker and flatter than normal floss.
- Water flossers are great for those who struggle to use regular floss, who have trouble getting their hands into position, or who have braces, as the water can clean between the wires.
- Floss picks are an excellent choice for kids and people who may struggle with regular floss. They’re also disposable.
The importance of proper flossing
Essentially, when you floss, like with all other oral care techniques, you’re trying to keep your mouth as healthy as possible until your next dental appointment. Book an appointment online or call (415) 921-8867 to reach our San Francisco, CA office.