How Do I Floss Correctly?

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You may already be brushing your teeth twice daily as recommended by Dr. Albert Caves of Columbus GA and dentists worldwide. This is fantastic and you should definitely keep it up. However, even doing that is not enough to stave off tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing is a vital part of your oral hygiene regimen but flossing is equally important.

Brushing your teeth only removes the plaque and bacteria that feed upon it that are easily reached. Bacteria feeding on plaque between your teeth can cause tooth decay, cavities and even gingivitis and gum disease, which can only be removed by flossing.

Why Is Flossing So Important?

This where flossing comes to the rescue. Flossing removes the plaque that your toothbrush can’t easily remove in places such as between your teeth. However, it’s important that not only are you flossing but you’re flossing effectively. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” as the old saying goes, and flossing is that ounce of prevention against tooth decay. 

Flossing regularly — at least once every day — can help you to avoid painful, time-consuming and potentially costly dental procedures. These procedures can become necessary when tooth decay is allowed to continue unchecked between teeth.

How to Floss Correctly

1. Wrap a length of floss about eighteen inches long around your middle fingers, with more on one side than the other so you can wind the used floss up and access a fresh length. Use your thumbs and forefingers to control the floss and move it between your teeth.

2. Push the floss between two teeth and use a gentle “sawing” (back and forth) motion all the way from the top of the teeth down to their base where they erupt from your gums.

3. Wrap the floss around the side of one tooth in a “U” shape then gently slide up and down your tooth. Make sure to go slightly underneath the gum-line, then repeat on the other side of the tooth. Repeat this for each tooth.

4. Don’t be concerned if you notice that your gums are bleeding as you floss. You can expect a little bleeding if you haven’t been flossing regularly. This bleeding is caused by the floss irritating  the inflammation brought on by the bacteria dwelling there. If you floss daily as recommended by your Dr. Caves and your local dentist, you should see an improvement in the health of gums in one to two weeks.

Floss Picks Are Less Effective Than You Think

Some patients like to use floss picks that are now widely available at most retail stores. These “Y” shaped pieces of plastic with floss strung between the “arms” of the “Y” are intended to make flossing easier. However, most dentists prefer their patients to use a length of “free” floss and their hands. Proper flossing isn’t really possible with floss picks due to the fact that you cannot wrap the floss around your tooth in the “U” shape recommended. However, using picks is still better than not flossing at all.

Schedule An Appointment With Your Dentist

Most dentists recommend flossing after you brush your teeth since there will already be less plaque and food particles to get stuck on the floss. If you have any additional questions about brushing, flossing or your oral health, call (706) 407-4851 or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Caves in Columbus, GA today.