Most people consider flossing as an alternative to using a toothpick. The misconception is that it is only done to remove large particles of food that get stuck in between our teeth. Although this is correct, flossing does so much more than its given credit for. Remember that brushing our teeth alone does not remove all the plaque and unwanted particles in our mouth. Some of these are left in between our teeth and need to be flossed out. If left unattended plaque will harden and become tartar - requiring a dentist to remove it. Bacteria build up that is also left unchecked may result in tooth decay - leading to root canals, or worse, an extraction. Knowing this, it is important to floss at least once a day to prevent plaque and bacteria buildup. This will ensure that our teeth remain fresher, cleaner and healthier - resulting in fewer visits to the dentist.
How it’s done:
“Flossing” is actually easy to understand method of cleaning our teeth. It is easy to do and requires minimal effort. Choose your floss – The very first thing you need is dental floss. There are different types of floss and choosing the ideal one will depend on the gap size between your teeth. If you have larger spaces then it might be best for you to use an un-waxed ribbon or a filament type of floss. On the other hand, if the spaces between your teeth are small and difficult to penetrate, waxed or string floss might be ideal. There are also a lot of flavored dental floss that some might find appealing. Take out a small amount – Pull out about 15 inches, more or less, of floss. The length will depend on the amount of flossing that needs to be done but this much is usually enough. Wrap around your fingers - Wrap the floss around your dominant fingers. This is normally the index finger but if you are more comfortable using another finger you can use that as well. Use your thumb to get a firm grip on the floss so that it doesn’t slide when you are flossing. Insert in between your teeth – The goal when flossing is to clean the areas in between your teeth so you will insert the string or ribbon here. The first time you do this, you will get an idea about the correctness of your floss choice from how easy or difficult it is to do. Use a forward and backward motion – The next step is fairly straight forward. You rub the floss on the surface of the tooth you are cleaning in a forward and backward motion. This removes the plaque and particle buildup in between your teeth which will be visible on the string/ribbon. Make sure that you clean down to the bottom part of the gap but don’t force the floss deep into the gums. Move on to a cleaner part of the string – After flossing one gap, adjust your grip on the dental floss in order to use a clean section for the next set of teeth. Occasionally wash your mouth with water – In order to fully clean your teeth it is best to occasionally clean your mouth with water. This helps remove the particles that have been unhinged from the teeth.
Here are some tips on how to properly floss your teeth:
Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.