Do you ever wonder why your dentist/hygienist and orthodontist are always asking patients about how often they are flossing? Really, how important can it be…. right? Well, according to the Academy of General Dentistry it is the most important thing that can combat against plaque. Not only does flossing remove junk caught in between your teeth, it polishes the tooth surface, controls bad breath and decreases the chance of getting gum disease. Many people say that they do not have the time floss, you could practice flossing with your eyes closed, if you can master that you can floss anywhere for example, in your car, at your desk (make sure your co-workers are ok with it), or even in bed each night before you go to sleep. Buy extra packages of floss and keep them in handy places and when you have an extra minute grab some floss and floss away!
Here are a few tips on flossing.
1. Waxed floss generally is easier to slide, but unwaxed floss will squeak on clean teeth – this is a sign that the plague is gone
2. Generally you will want about 18inches of floss, and will wind most of it around the middle finger of one hand
3. Hold the floss tightly between the two hands, you will have about an inch between each hand
4. Gently glide the floss back and forth between your teeth
5. Wrap the used floss around the middle finger of the other hand as you floss (this way you won’t re-use the floss)
6. Once the floss is between the teeth make a “C” cupping the tooth with floss, gently rub the floss against the tooth moving it up and down the tooth
7. Do this on all your teeth, this does include your molars
8. Discard floss when finished
In the orthodontic office many people will ask us about the use of water picks or electric toothbrushes, although these are good tools to use, we do not recommend that our patients hurry out and purchase them. At McDaniel, Sternstein & Aleman, we believe that a manual tooth brush and flossing will work just as sufficient provided they are being done daily.
Remember, you don’t need to brush and floss all your teeth, only the ones you want to keep!!!