Brushing your teeth is a great way to get rid of plaque from the sides and top of your teeth, but it doesn’t reach into those tiny spaces between teeth. This is why flossing is just as important as brushing. It gets where your brush can’t.
Dental floss is available in waxed or unwaxed varieties. It’s also available threaded onto a plastic handle, making it easy to reach the back of your mouth. Whichever you choose, your flossing technique will determine how effective you are at getting rid of plaque between your teeth.
Here are some steps to follow to make sure you have a proper flossing technique:
- Take a length of dental floss about 18 inches long.
- Wrap the floss around the middle finger of both hands, leaving two to three inches in the middle to work with.
- Grasp the middle section with the index finger on both hands and gently slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a “C” shape.
- Slide the floss down into the space between the tooth and gum and gently up the sides of each tooth to remove any plaque, both on the tooth surface and at the gum line.
- Move from tooth to tooth, using a new section of floss as you go; don’t forget the back side of the last teeth!
Keep in mind that your gums may bleed or be uncomfortable if you’re not already a regular flosser (that is to be expected and will likely stop as you continue to floss).
Just Do It – Build a Routine
It doesn’t matter when you floss, as long as you’re doing it—so do it when you’re in front of the TV, as you’re reading in bed, or any other time you find yourself with a free moment. Before bed is generally found to be the most effective, since it removes the whole day’s plaque buildup, leaving you with a fresh, cleaner mouth for sleeping!
Remember, it’s easier to stick to regular habits, so make it part of your families nightly routine! And, enjoy the extra fresh feeling when you’re done!