The Ins and Outs of Flossing

Dental floss Jackson MI dentists

It’s often overlooked but flossing can do a fair amount for your smile. Sure, it can’t carry the health of your teeth on its own but it is an integral part of a proper oral hygiene routine. Our Jackson, MI, dentists recommend you floss every day in addition to the two times you brush your teeth.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to using floss.

The Importance of Flossing 

Many patients understand the importance of brushing your teeth but they neglect to also embrace the act of flossing. In fact, it’s estimated that about only 4 in 10 Americans floss every day. It is recommended that if you’re brushing at least twice a day, that you’re also flossing at least once.

So, why does using floss matter? Well, flossing helps to clean out and remove any food particles that become stuck in between your teeth. This then reduces how much bacteria and plaque form in, around, and on your teeth. In a nutshell, flossing is a beneficial oral hygiene habit that lowers your risk for developing cavities and gum disease.

What’s the Right Way to Floss? 

Learning to floss is nothing complicated. However, most people think they’re using floss correctly when in fact, they’re going too fast, being too rough, or missing spots. If done improperly, you can potentially damage your teeth and gums.

To make it easier, we’ve included a step-by-step guide below that you can follow once a day. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask our dentists or staff for guidance at your next teeth cleaning appointment.

Easy flossing instructions:

  • Tear off about 18-24 inches of floss.
  • Wrap most of the floss around both of your middle fingers, leaving about 1-2 inches for use on your teeth.
  • Use your thumbs and index fingers to tightly hold the floss and place it between two teeth.
  • Carefully and gently move the floss up and down to rub it against both sides of each tooth. Try not to glide the floss into your gums as this can cause scratching and bruising.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape once it reaches your gums so it hugs the base of your tooth. By doing this, you’re allowing the floss to enter the space between your gums and tooth.
  • Repeat the above steps until you’ve finished flossing between every tooth (even behind your back molars!) and use a clean section of floss as you go.

How to Select the “Best” Floss 

It is generally recommended that you floss first, then brush your teeth. But what type of floss should you use? There are 3 main types of floss to choose from and that includes standard floss, dental tape, and floss threaders.

As far as the 3 types of floss go, simply pick a quality product that feels the best. Dental tape is broader and flatter which is great if you have braces or larger gaps in between your teeth. Regular floss comes in waxed or woven versions and is a thin nylon strand.

Lastly, floss threaders can benefit patients with braces, dental bridges, and gaps. There are multiple components to a floss threader which includes:

  • A stiffer end for making flossing underneath appliances easier
  • Floss that’s spongy for cleaning around appliances, i.e., brackets and wires
  • Regular floss for removing plaque underneath your gum line

Alternative Floss Options

Can’t get the hang of flossing or find it difficult due to arthritis or limited hand mobility? There are a few other tools you can use to get rid of plaque and leftover food bits. We’re mainly talking about water flossers and floss picks.

Electric water flossers are more on the expensive side but they’re great for patients who have trouble with standard floss. Water flossers use water and pressure to rinse away plaque and debris between teeth. This tool is also nice if you have braces! If you’re willing to invest, our dentists highly recommend a water flosser.

Floss picks, on the other hand, can be bought in bulk and are disposable after one full use. You can move them around your smile easily and have better luck reaching areas in the back of your mouth.

Schedule an Appointment

When you combine daily flossing at home with regular brushing and professional teeth cleanings from our dentists in Jackson, MI, your smile is golden. Call The Dental Experience today at (517) 787-5367 to request an appointment for you or a child.