Brushing and flossing
We all know how vital flossing is, and yet we don’t all include it as part of our oral health routine. Flossing is just as vital as brushing and is one of the best ways to take out plaque from between your teeth.
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According to National Smile Month over one third of people have never used dental floss and less than a quarter of adults use dental floss frequently. Flossing should start early in life and should be carried out daily. Dental floss when used correctly removes any left over food and plaque from the teeth stopping gum disease.
How to use dental floss
Dental floss lands in many different forms and product types. It’s a thin thread, made of either plastic or nylon. Varieties include waxed, unwaxed and flavoured floss, normally mint. Togather with traditional floss that is dispensed from a container in a length of your choosing you can also get floss picks. Floss picks have already has the floss threaded onto a u-shaped stick or plastic holder, taking some of the fiddly elements out of flossing. All of these kinds have their own unique benefits, ask your dentist or hygienist which is best for your personal needs and they will be able to advise.
How to use dental floss
Be thorough but gentle when making use of dental floss, make sure to reach the gumline but don’t force it down too far or too severely as this can damage your gums. Always follow flossing advice prescribed by your dentist, this includes how often you should use it. We have listed below all the information you have to start flossing correctly today.
- Pull out a section of floss about 18 inches long, roughly the size of a long desk ruler. Take your middle finger on each hand and wrap the floss around them leaving a length of taut floss in the middle
- Use your thumb and forefinger of each hand, leaving about 1-2 inches length in the middle, pull the length so that it is tight and can be inserted in the gaps between your teeth
- Without any force draw the floss up and down against the sides of the teeth and under the gumline. Always remember to be careful but thorough around the gumline
- Using a fresh section of floss for each tooth to prevent moving plaque around the mouth, repeat the process of flossing on your next tooth until each tooth has been flossed
- never forget the teeth at the back of your mouth, the exposed surfaces of these teeth should also be flossed
Bleeding gums when you floss
Your dentist may advise you that the first couple of times you floss your gums may bleed a little. This is since your gums may be tender and aren’t used to such a thorough clean, now you are getting rid of any plaque build-up. Stick with the flossing and include it once a day in your oral health routine and the bleeding and sensitivity should subside, if it doesn’t then you should get advice from your dentist or hygienist.
If you are finding flossing too hard or painful to continue with you should speak with your dentist about your available options. They may be able to recommend a more suitable floss or another way of cleaning between your teeth such as interdental brushes. Floss, in its many varieties, is available from supermarkets, pharmacies and even from your dentist.