Keeping your teeth healthy requires both regular dentist visits and brushing and flossing at home. However, many people don’t know how to floss properly. Here's what you should know about this important dental hygiene habit.
Why Does Your Dentist Want You to Floss?
Your mouth contains bacteria that are constantly multiplying and forming sticky plaque on your teeth. If the latter sits in one place for too long, it hardens into dental tartar. Unlike flossing, brushing only removes plaque from the surfaces of your teeth, but not from the spaces between them. Additionally, flossing helps prevent gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss or even heart disease.
What Are Your Options for Flossing?
One option is to use rolls of dental floss. If you have narrow gaps between your teeth, choose a waxed floss, which will slide in easily. If you have large spaces, use something wider. It's usually marked as extra wide, extra thick, or dental tape. If you don’t like traditional floss, use alternatives, like water flossers, floss picks, or interdental brushes.
How Do You Floss Properly?
Cut off about 18 inches of floss and wrap most of it around your middle fingers until you have a few inches left between your hands. Pinch it between your thumbs and forefingers, and guide the floss between two teeth. Pull it against one of the teeth to form a U shape, and run the floss up and down the tooth, including beneath the gumline. Next, pull the floss against the other tooth, once again forming a U shape, and move it up and down again. Repeat this for every gap between two teeth in your mouth.
To make sure you're flossing correctly and getting rid of the plaque between your teeth, visit Ronald B. Potthoff, DDS, PC. Based in Kalispell, MT, and serving Flathead County for over 23 years, Dr. Pothoff offers advanced solutions, like dental implants, veneers, and laser procedures, in addition to basic teeth cleanings. Call (406) 755-5280 today to schedule an appointment with the dentist.