How to Floss
At home, dental care is necessary and flossing is an essential part of dental hygiene, even more than brushing. The main purpose of flossing is to remove food residue between our teeth and prevent plaque formation.
The American Dental association reports that only 50 percent of Americans floss daily, 31 percent less than daily and 18 percent don’t floss at all.
But when you consider that flossing helps prevent gum disease and cavities and not flossing is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, it makes you wonder why more people don’t do it.
1. Maybe you’re too tired at the end of the day to bother with flossing. Yet, it doesn’t really matter when you do it. The most important thing is to just do it—once a day. Whether you floss before or after you brush doesn’t much matter, either.
2. Here’s a no-brainer tip for easy flossing: Try storing floss in your car, in your bag or in your office drawer—then break it out when you have time (just don’t floss in public—your friends and coworkers will thank you). There’s no need to floss in front of a mirror, either.
3. Flossing should not be painful. It’s normal for it to be uncomfortable when you first start, but within a week or two, that discomfort should ease.
4. Be aware of flossing too hard—it could damage the tissue between your teeth. But don’t be too gentle either, which might not result in a complete job.
5. Children should start to floss as soon as they have two teeth that touch.
Flossing the Right way
The right way to floss your teeth consists of few essential and not overly difficult steps.
- Not flossing enough
You need to floss daily to prevent build-up of the dreaded tartar. And remember, when you first begin to floss, gums can bleed’don’t let that deter you. Try to floss at night before bed so the plaque between your teeth doesn’t have all night to rest and fester.
- Not removing the plaque
A lot of us use floss only to remove food that’s stuck between our teeth. Remember, for floss to be useful, you need to spend the time required to remove plaque: scraping the surface up and down two or three times, moving gently below the gum line, on both sides of each tooth. Having difficulty? Ask your dentist to recommend a type of floss (waxed vs. unwaxed, for example) suitable for your teeth.
- Not using enough pressure
It takes some elbow grease to actually clear the tooth of plaque. Press firmly against the tooth, while moving gently and slowly when guiding the floss under the gum line.
- Not flossing long enough
Most of us have 28 teeth, which means it should take us about two minutes for decent results. Add in the two to three minutes required for brushing, and it takes about five minutes an evening to ensure you have a set of teeth that can last you a lifetime.
Flossing Vs brushing
There have been endless debates between brushing and flossing. Which is better?
Flossing essentially removes the food residue between your teeth that a toothbrush might fail to reach and brushing is indispensable for the rest of your teeth and oral cavity.
When all is said and done, brushing and flossing are both important for your oral health. If you are planning to keep your teeth strong and in optimal health for life, make sure you use both techniques. If you brush your teeth, but do not floss, you are leaving a lot of plaque and bacteria which can cause gum disease and cavities.