Everyone hates flossing, but the fact is that it’s even more important than brushing. This is why daily flossing is crucial to maintaining healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime. Simple brushing doesn’t reach all tooth surfaces. Specifically, it misses the proximal surfaces (between the teeth) and the “V”-shaped sulcus, where the teeth and gums meet.
If you are a bit out of practice or are just learning to floss for the first time, here are a few flossing tips:
How to floss correctly
- Tear off a piece of dental floss about 18 inches long. Any type of floss works well (waxed, unwaxed, flavored, Glide, or even tread).
- Wrap the floss a few times around your fingers, leaving about three or four inches between your fingers and thumbs.
- Start in the back of your mouth, either on the top or the bottom. Insert the floss between the teeth and move it up and down. Work between the teeth and the gum line, scraping away food particles and plaque. You might have to use a mirror in order to see each position, at least at first.
- As the floss begins to fray or build up with plaque, unwind another piece of floss.
- You can floss before or after you brush your teeth.
- Flossing once a day is sufficient.
It is important to keep in mind that visiting your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and examination is as important as regular brushing and flossing.