Your mouth naturally develops a film of plaque over your teeth throughout your day. This plaque can eat away at your dental structure, leaving irreversible damage to your smile. You can clear away this plaque through oral hygiene. This is why you brush your teeth twice a day and floss on a daily basis.
But if you do not floss correctly, plaque can linger on your teeth and give you major dental problems. To make sure you keep your smile clean and healthy, read on to find tips from your dentist to enhance your method for flossing your teeth.
How to Floss Your Teeth Properly
Firmly Grip Your Floss
A strong start to your flossing regimen should begin with getting a good hold of the floss. Use about an 18-inch string of floss and wrap each end of the string around the middle fingers of each hand.
Then use your index fingers and thumbs to pinch the string stretched taught in between your hands. There should be an inch of floss to work with in this section.
This grip allows you to maintain a solid foundation for your flossing technique while keeping it easy to move your hands to floss where needed. As you floss, you will slide the string from around your middle fingers to reveal a fresh new section to clean your teeth with.
Maneuver Floss with Purpose
Once you have a firm grip on your floss, you can begin to clean your teeth. Gently insert the string of floss between two of your teeth. Press the floss against one of the teeth and rub it up and down against the tooth’s surface.
Then adjust the pressure to push the string against the other tooth while remaining in the same position. Repeat the up and down movement. Keep the motion gentle so that you do not irritate your gums.
You can then slide the floss out of your mouth and repeat this process for the rest of the teeth in your mouth. This cleaning procedure should be done at least once each day.
Consider Alternative Flossing Tools
Dentists agree that this traditional flossing method will get your smile effectively clean when you use the proper technique. However, some dental patients might benefit by employing alternative flossing tools.
For instance, you might want to consider using a floss pick, which features a plastic handle with a pre-measured string attached to it. Patients with braces may find this tool easier to maneuver around brackets and wires of oral appliances attached to the teeth.
You may also want to try a water flosser, in which an electronic device generates a concentrated stream of water that will wash away plaque between teeth when aimed there. This tool might splash water in a messy way if you are not careful. But people with dental implants and other fixtures might like the targeted cleaning method that comes with this device. Call your dentist to learn more about oral hygiene techniques that will suit your unique smile.