Ever since you started going to the dentist, you must have heard about the importance of flossing. But this does not make this simple task less annoying. Dental flossing only takes two minutes of your valuable time, but its benefits are immense. 

Flossing is an essential oral practice to maintain oral hygiene. It dislodges and cleans any food material stuck between your teeth. Thus it helps to reduce the number of bacteria and plaque formation in your mouth. Plaque is nothing but a sticky film that develops on your teeth and contributes to tooth cavities and gum disease.

woman flossing teeth

Although your teeth can be cleaned by tooth brushing, it is not effective in reaching the inner tooth surfaces. By adopting the tooth cleaning technique called flossing, you can clean every corner instead. 

This procedure involves a short piece of thread-like material, called floss. Which is used to clean areas that are difficult to reach with your toothbrush.

Although people brush their teeth daily, not everyone floss their teeth on a regular basis. According to a poll, every 4 in 10 people floss their teeth at least once a day. And one-fifth of the population never floss at all. The American Dental Association recommends recommends cleaning between your teeth daily with a dental floss.  

Flossing Teeth Steps to Follow

Follow this step-by-step guide to floss your teeth correctly.

Dental flossing instructions

  • Break off about 18 to 24 inches of dental floss. To hold it correctly, wind it around both of your middle fingers. Leave only about 1 to 2 inches of floss for cleaning your teeth.
  • The next step is to hold the floss taut tightly with your thumb and index fingers.
  • Then place the dental floss between two teeth. Gently glide by moving the floss up and down. The floss should rub against both sides of your tooth. Make sure that you do not floss into your gums. This can scratch or bruise your gums, leading to inflammation.
  • Once the floss touches your gums, curve the floss at the base of the tooth to form a C shape. This method will allow the floss to enter the space in between your tooth and gums.
  • Repeat these steps as you move from one tooth to the other. With each tooth, try using a new, clean section of floss.
  • Do not forget to floss the backside of your last tooth. Once you have finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss is no longer effective and loses its potential. And it could leave bacteria behind in your mouth. Hence it is advisable to use a piece of floss only once.

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Why is Flossing Teeth Important?

Floss helps you remove unwanted plaque and food particles from between your teeth. The areas of your tooth where your toothbrush can not reach. Flossing once a day is essential to your oral health. It plays a vital role in protecting your smile from any kind of dental cavities, gum diseases, and bad breath.

The reality is, it is not enough to simply floss. It is important to floss the correct manner. Improper flossing can potentially damage your teeth and gums. So, if you are not sure about the right way to clean, below is a step-by-step guide on the best way to floss.

But when it comes to selecting the best floss for your smile, are there different types available? Here we discuss a few of the most popular types of floss for your smile. 

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Types of Dental Floss

Dental floss comes in many varieties. You can choose dental floss depending on your preferences. 

Some dental floss is easier to use in wider spaces. In contrast, there are other types of floss that are easier to use in tighter spaces.

Although there is no hard and fast rule to select the type of floss, 

There are two parameters to consider while selecting the type of floss. The first one is the size of the floss and secondly, the ease of flossing. 

Many people assume that with age, they will naturally lose their teeth. However, by keeping your teeth and gums healthy, your teeth can be made available throughout your life.

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Listed below are few types of dental floss:

1 Dental tape

This type of dental floss has a broader and flat shape similar to ribbon. This makes it easier to handle if you have dental braces, gaps, or large spaces in between your teeth. 

Dental tape is easily recognizable because it is wider than regular ones. Dental tapes are more flatter and can be both waxed and unwaxed.

This type of floss is easier to hold and use, specifically for people who have a hard time flossing.

2 Standard floss

This is a very thin nylon strand that can easily fit in between your teeth. This type of floss can be flavored or unflavored. They can also be waxed or unwaxed. These variations cater to different personal choices. If your teeth are crowded or crooked, dental floss with a wax coating can make it easier to get in between them.

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3 Super flosses

This type of dental floss threader can easily work with bridges, braces, and gaps. This is because your dental fixtures need proper attention while cleaning. It is where super flosses come into the picture.

It has three components. Firstly a stiffened end for flossing underneath your appliance. A spongy floss to clean around your appliances like braces. And the third section is the regular floss to eliminate plaque underneath your gum line.

When Should You Floss?

Note that by flossing at the right time, you can improve your oral health. 

Flossing should be done once in 24 hours, but there is no ideal time to floss. It is a good option to do it in the evening. So that any food particles from the day can be removed at the end of the day.

Many people floss their teeth after brushing their teeth. However, dentists generally recommend flossing followed by brushing your teeth

Flossing helps remove plaque and food stuck in between your teeth. So when you brush after flossing it removes these particles from your mouth. 

If you brush first and floss afterwards, food particles and plaque remain in your mouth until the next bruising cycle. 

Dentists recommend flossing at least once every day and brushing twice every day. Talk to your dentist about what types of oral care products will be most suitable and effective for you.

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Flossing Teeth is it Right for You?

The type of floss you select all depends on what’s comfortable and easiest for you to use daily. If you have teeth that fit close together, then you may benefit from unwaxed floss or water flossers. 

But if there is more space in between your teeth, you may choose dental tape or waxed floss. 

Too often, you might find that the floss is a bad fit for you. It is also one of the main reasons people stop using it. 

The spacing of everyone’s teeth is quite different. So what would work for you might not work for your partner or mom. 

Floss should move through teeth smoothly so you can clean between your teeth. The floss should slide easily a couple of inches between your teeth. If it is too hard to get floss through that you hit your gums every time – then it’s not the floss for you.

Whatever type of floss you use, choose the one that suits you in order to maintain your beautiful smile.

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Other Tools for Easy Flossing

In addition to the dental tape, other tools like floss threaders and waxed floss can make flossing faster and easier.

The first option is to use an electric flosser or a water flosser. It uses water and pressure to remove food and plaque deposited between your teeth. It is a great option if you have trouble handling regular floss. A water flosser is also beneficial if you have braces. The device can also clean in between wires and brackets.

Water flossers use a stream of water to clean between teeth. They are a good alternative if you have trouble with your grip, have braces or had other treatments like implants or bridges.

The second option is to use disposable floss picks. They can be easily maneuvered and can help you floss teeth situated at the back of your mouth.

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Flossing Teeth – Problems and Solutions

Flossing vigorously or too hard can eventually cause damage to your gum tissues and the enamel of your teeth. Gums sometimes bleed when you first begin to floss. Bleeding usually stops after a few days. 

See your dentist if the bleeding does not stop. Floss can shred if you snag it on an old filling or on the ragged edge of a tooth.

Try another type of floss or dental tape. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for advice. If your floss still shreds, see your dentist.

Summing Up

Remember, good oral hygiene involves more than just brushing your teeth. Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene. And knowing how to floss correctly is equally important.

You need to understand that flossing is pretty important. It can prevent you from having a range of dental issues.

Flossing helps remove all kinds of bacteria and food from between your teeth. In addition, it reduces the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease. Along with regular flossing and brushing, make sure you also schedule a regular dental checkup and cleaning at least twice a year.