Flossing your teeth is as important to dental health as brushing. While it’s better to use a floss pick than to not floss at all, it’s important to note that they don’t do as thorough a job as regular floss. At Staten Island Dental Care, we recommend traditional floss or dental tape.
A floss pick holds just a small length of floss stretched in a straight line. But teeth are rounded, with occasional irregularities. A straight length of floss just can’t conform to the contours of a tooth as well as traditional floss used correctly.
By wrapping the floss completely around the circumference of a tooth, you can more effectively clean that vital area around and just below the gum line. And your fingers are much more agile than a piece of plastic.
Here is a review on proper flossing:
- Cut a piece of floss about 18 inches long and securely wind each end around your middle fingers.
- Take hold of the floss with your forefinger and thumb leaving about two inches to work with. Thread the floss between two teeth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the side of the tooth and move it up and away from the gumline. You want to clean the space between the tooth and gum without pulling more gum tissue away, so it’s important to scrape up and out of the pocket.
- Move the floss around the tooth to clean every surface—especially those that your brush can’t reach. You can use a “shoeshine” method if you like. As you use a section of floss, unwind from one hand to access a clean piece. With 18 inches, you should have enough to furnish a clean section for each tooth. If you run out, that’s okay. Just toss the used piece and cut a new piece.
- Some people find it more straightforward to begin on one end of the upper teeth and clean each gap one by one until they reach the end on the opposite side, and then repeat for the lower arch. Whatever method you opt for, make sure you clean around every tooth, including the back surfaces of the rear molars.
- If you have never flossed before, your gums might bleed the first few times. The bleeding may be due to gum inflammation, the beginnings of gum disease. Keep flossing gently and the bleeding often stops within a week or two.
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