Most people are pretty good about brushing their teeth twice a day, but unfortunately not so many have a regular flossing habit.
Some people still only floss when they can feel something stuck in between the teeth, but removing food debris isn’t the only reason for flossing. The main reason for flossing once a day is to remove the plaque from in between your teeth.
While brushing can remove plaque from most of the surfaces, your toothbrush cannot reach the contact areas, and these areas account for an incredible one third of your tooth surfaces. So what is the best way to floss?
Simple Techniques for Flossing
Flossing effectively isn’t difficult, but it does require a bit of practice. One thing that many people automatically do, and which makes the process much more difficult is to tense up their facial muscles. This makes it very awkward to reach right to the back of the mouth, so make a conscious effort to relax your face next time.
Another simple tip is to break off a nice long piece of floss, as lots of people make the mistake of using too short a piece of floss which is a false economy.
You probably need a length of around 18 inches so you can comfortably wind the ends round each middle finger. This enables you to use the index finger and thumb to guide the floss in between each tooth and right down to just below the gum line. Wrap the floss around the tooth surfaces as you move it up and down the tooth as this will help ensure the maximum amount of plaque is removed. You can then wind on the floss so you use a fresh section for the next tooth.
If you find this technique too tricky, then try breaking off a nice long piece of floss before tying the ends together. This creates a circle that some people find easier to use. Flossing does require a certain level of dexterity, and if you find it too difficult to manipulate then there are alternatives. One method is to try the soft tooth picks or interdental brushes that can be purchased from any drugstore, or you could invest in a waterpick, an electrical device that shoots water in between each tooth to remove the plaque.
Still struggling? Ask us for help at your next dentist appointment. As your family dentist we are always more than willing to offer practical advice on how to floss or brush your teeth more effectively.
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