Considering that the American Dental Association reports that 20% of adults never floss, perhaps the most pressing question is “are you flossing at all?” Despite recent debate in the media, flossing absolutely has a role in better oral health. Flossing cleans up to 35% of your tooth surface that your toothbrush cannot reach. Considering that gum disease, the leading cause of tooth loss, is most commonly triggered by plaque accumulation along the gum line, flossing is a powerful tool that should not be left out of your oral hygiene routine.
Just like brushing your teeth, flossing also needs to be performed the right way. In fact, technique is the key to getting the benefits from your flossing habits. Patients of all ages resort to the wrong flossing technique, which can be a waste of time and flossing thread! Remember that if you child cannot tie his or her shoe, they probably shouldn’t be flossing on their own. Do the job for them, but make sure you are doing it right.
Are you quickly swiping some floss between each tooth in order to pull out stuck food particles? If so, you need to reconsider your technique. Here is a simple guideline to follow when it is time to floss:
- Use dental floss from a dispenser
- Wrap the strand of floss tightly around one finger of each hand
- Pull a short length of flossing thread tight
- Insert the floss below the gum line and along the side of the tooth
- Wrap the floss around the side surface of the tooth and scrape upwards with the floss
- Go to the next tooth; follow the same routine of by starting with the floss below the gum line
- Remember to rinse the floss when food debris is pulled out
The biggest difference between the above flossing technique and one where you are simply dislodging stuck food is that you’ll be able to eradicate the sticky plaque accumulation that forms just beneath the gums and along the tooth root. By doing so, bad breath and gingivitis are more effectively addressed.
Not sure if you are flossing the right way? Let us help. At Gilreath Family Dentistry, we welcome the opportunity to help patients take care of their teeth and gums at home, whether it is suggesting a certain product or showing them a better technique. Our dental team believes in the power of proper flossing for a healthier, more confident smile!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,