Oral Hygiene: 3 Dos and Don’ts of Flossing : Maintaining proper oral hygiene is important to ensure healthy teeth and gum. Flossing is a great way to remove plaque and debris from between teeth. However, it is important to floss regularly and properly to enjoy the benefits of this practice. These dos and don’ts will help make flossing easy.
Do: Floss Daily
It is important to floss at least once every single day. This is an important part of proper oral hygiene. When combined with regular brushing and visits to the dentist, individuals can maintain healthy teeth and gum throughout their lifetime. Those looking for a dentist for themselves or their families should consider Foothills Family Dentistry.
The American Dental Association recommends interdental cleaning, such as flossing, at least once a day. Flossing removes debris and plaque from between the teeth and at the gumline. Brushing alone cannot completely remove this plaque and debris from these hard-to-reach areas. Adding flossing to the daily routine can help minimize gum disease and tooth decay.
Do: Use Enough Floss
It is important to use enough floss to properly clean all the teeth. It is suggested to use approximately 18 inches of floss to start. Wind the floss around the middle finger on each hand, leaving approximately 1 to 2 inches of floss.
Next, hold the floss between the thumb and index finger on each hand. Keep the floss tautly held. Slide the floss up and down between each tooth. The floss should curve around the base of each tooth. This ensures that the floss goes beneath the gumline and removes the plaque and debris stuck there.
Do: Be Gentle
When flossing, be certain to use gentle motions between the teeth. The floss should glide between the teeth and gently move along the base of the tooth to ease out plaque and debris. It is important to take the time to floss properly and not rush the process.
If proper brushing and flossing habits are not maintained, it can cause the gumline to become irritated or inflamed. This can make the gum more fragile. With gentle flossing, bleeding can occur. However, with proper habits and regular dentist visits, the gum will heal and the bleeding will diminish.
Don’t: Be Aggressive
Aggressive flossing can be damaging to the gum. It is important to always be gentle when flossing and only move in up and down motions. Sawing the floss between the teeth can cut or damage the gum. Snapping the floss can also cause damage to the gum.
Aggressive strokes, sawing, snapping, or other harsh motions can cause serious damage to the gumline. Continuous damage may even pose risks of receding gums. This can leave the teeth vulnerable to many more issues. It is important to take care when flossing.
Don’t: Replace Flossing with Mouthwash
Although mouthwash can be beneficial for killing bacteria and freshening breath, it is not a replacement for flossing. No matter how much swishing occurs or how much the mouthwash stings, mouthwash cannot remove the debris and plaque between teeth in the same way floss can.
Don’t: Reuse Floss
The purpose of using 18 inches of floss is to ensure there is enough floss for each tooth. After flossing one area, adjust the floss on the fingers to allow a clean piece to be used each and every time. If needed, use more floss. Reusing floss between teeth can introduce bacteria from one tooth to the other and may even leave behind debris and plaque from another tooth instead of removing it.
Following proper and daily flossing habits in conjunction with a regular brushing schedule minimizes plaque and bacteria in the mouth that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
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