What is the right and most affective way to floss? - Southampton Aesthetic Dentistry

What is the right and most affective way to floss?

The Importance of Flossing

Flossing goes beyond the cosmetic aspect of removing food particles stuck between teeth. It is a fundamental practice that targets the prevention of serious oral health issues. Proper flossing reaches areas that toothbrushes simply cannot access, such as the tight spaces between teeth and below the gumline. Not flossing these areas can lead to the accumulation of plaque, which eventually hardens into tartar and can cause various dental problems, including cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

 

Benefits of Flossing

  • Prevents Gum Disease: Gingivitis and periodontitis, collectively known as gum disease, are primarily caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar around the gumline. Regular flossing disrupts the accumulation of these substances, reducing the risk of gum inflammation and infection.
  • Cavity Prevention: Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from between teeth, minimizing the chances of cavities forming in these hidden areas.
  • Freshens Breath: Food particles trapped between teeth can contribute to bad breath. By flossing regularly, patients can maintain fresher breath by eliminating these sources of odor.
  • Preserves Tooth Enamel: Plaque buildup not only affects gums but can also erode tooth enamel. Flossing aids in removing plaque, protecting the enamel and promoting overall tooth health.
  • Reduces Systemic Health Risks: Emerging research suggests a link between oral health and systemic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Proper flossing can play a role in reducing these risks by maintaining a healthy oral environment.

The Correct Flossing Technique

To ensure you are flossing and getting the most out of their flossing routine, it’s crucial to teach them the correct technique.Β 

  • Choose the Right Floss: There are various types of floss available, including traditional string floss, floss picks, and water flossers. The key is to choose a type they’re comfortable with, as consistency is paramount.
  • Use Enough Floss: Cut off about 18 inches of floss. This might sound like a lot, but having enough length ensures a clean section of floss can be used for each tooth pair.
  • Proper Grip: Hold the floss between your thumbs and forefingers, leaving a small section for maneuvering between teeth. Make sure the floss is held taut but not too tight to avoid damaging the gums.
  • Slide Between Teeth: Gently slide the floss between two teeth using a zigzag motion. Avoid snapping the floss, as this can harm the gums. Form a C-shape around the tooth and carefully glide the floss under the gumline.
  • Up and Down Motion: Move the floss up and down along the side of the tooth. This motion helps remove plaque and debris from the tooth’s surface and below the gumline.
  • Unwind Clean Floss: After cleaning one tooth, unwind a clean section of floss for the next tooth. Using the same section of floss can redistribute bacteria and food particles.
  • Be Gentle: Always be gentle when flossing to avoid damaging the gums. If the floss causes discomfort or bleeding, it might be a sign of gum disease or incorrect technique. Encourage patients to continue flossing, but if bleeding persists, advise them to see a dentist.
  • Floss All Teeth: Repeat the process for all teeth, both upper and lower, making sure to access the hard-to-reach molars at the back of the mouth.
  • Rinse and Clean: After flossing, patients should rinse their mouth with water to remove any loosened debris. Remind them to brush their teeth as well to ensure a thorough clean.
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