Most people already know that proper flossing is essential to a healthy mouth. It removes the buildup of food and plaque between the teeth, eliminating some tooth decay. While many people know that pulling out the dental floss is a good idea, not many people actually do it—or do it effectively. Clean the whole tooth surface by flossing in between those pearly whites!
The question is: How do you effectively floss your teeth?
If you feel ready to improve your oral health with daily flossing, here’s what you need to know to get all your teeth as clean as possible in our step-by-step guide to removing plaque:
How Much Floss To Use
Even just getting started with dental floss can feel a little daunting. Your dispenser has a seemingly endless supply of floss, so how much are you supposed to use? Think back to your last dental cleaning. Chances are that you noticed that the dental hygienist pulled out way more than you thought you needed.
A good rule of thumb is to pull out roughly 45-60 cm (18-24 inches) of dental floss or dental tape to clean your teeth.
Why do you need to use so much? Well, you’ll need to wrap it around your fingers to secure it and weave it between the teeth, all the way to the gum line, using a fresh bit between each tooth. It’s better to err on the side of caution and use too much floss than to skimp.
How To Hold the Floss
Regular floss or even dental tape (a wider and flatter version of floss) is relatively easy to hold, though you’ll need to practice to really get the hang of it. With a 60 cm (2-foot) section cut from the dispenser, you’ll want to wrap the majority of the floss taut around your middle fingers.
Make sure to leave about 2-5 cm (1-2 inches) between the two middle fingers. This is the space that will actually clean the food particles from between your teeth. Stabilize the floss with your thumbs and index fingers before you start to clean.
How To Floss Correctly To Minimize Gum Disease
From here, focus on flossing one tooth at a time. Position the floss at the space between where two teeth meet and glide it into the gap. Move the floss up and down, focusing on each vertical side of the tooth.
Do this flossing below the gumline to help decrease your risk of gum disease or periodontal disease.
The trick is not to be too rough with your gums while flossing. Even spongy floss can bruise or cut the gums if you’re not cautious. In fact, the floss shouldn’t really connect with the gums.
When you do get to flossing the gums, make sure that you clean the space between the tooth and the gum line. You can do this by taking the floss to the base of the tooth and moving it into a C-shape. The curve of the C-shape allows you to work the floss gently into this gap. Repeat it for the tooth on each side.
It should take just a few seconds to clean between each pair of teeth. When you finish flossing one section of the spaces between your teeth, move to the next pair.
This is a good time to rewrap your dental floss around your fingers so that you have a fresh and clean piece of flawless floss for your tooth.
Make sure to get the back teeth with the floss, too!
Using Dental Floss With Dental Appliances
If you have a dental appliance in the mouth that makes traditional flossing impossible, you can purchase tools that make this flossing process easier. For example, there are floss threaders on the market that are designed to fit neatly between the teeth and pull the floss through so that you can clean below the appliance.
You could also look for handy tools that promise to make your flossing experience easier than using regular floss. For example, you may have seen water flossers or electric flossers that can get between the teeth more easily than standard floss.
While brushing removes a lot of the plaque and buildup between the teeth, a Saskatoon teeth cleaning will help you get a good baseline. We’ll give you a step-by-step guide to flossing for your unique situation so that you can get your teeth clean.
Get a Regular Dental Cleaning
If you have questions about how to floss your teeth effectively, our dental clinic in Saskatoon can offer you advice for what type of floss to use, how to gently slide it between the teeth, and how to make sure that floss reaches every part of the mouth. Contact us today to set up your routine dental cleaning!