Secrets to Proper Flossing
Flossing tips from Crest® + Oral-B® & The Smile Generation®, providing healthy smiles
Gum disease begins at the gum line and between teeth. Daily flossing is an important part of your oral health care routine to help remove the plaque from these areas where a toothbrush does not completely reach. And even though twice-daily tooth brushing is essential for good oral hygiene, brushing alone may not protect you from gum disease and the tooth loss that can result.
Make flossing your teeth a regular, daily part of your dental care routine, and you may be more likely to keep your teeth and less likely to need dentures later in life. While gum (periodontal) disease is not the primary cause for pulpal death, chronically unhealthy gums can increase your risk of losing your teeth or needing a root canal.
To truly reap the benefits of flossing, you need to use proper flossing technique.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association explains the key elements of proper flossing technique in four simple steps:
- Wind: Wind 18 inches of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a one- to two-inch length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.
- Guide: Keep a one- to two-inch length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.
- Glide: Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. DO NOT SNAP FLOSS BETWEEN YOUR TEETH. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.
- Slide: Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.
This technique applies to any type of floss: waxed, unwaxed, spongy floss or dental tape. It doesn’t matter whether you start with your upper or lower teeth, or whether you start in the front or the back. Just make sure that you floss all your teeth, including the back side of the very last tooth on the left, right, top and bottom of your mouth. And don’t forget to floss under the gum line and along the sides of teeth that border any spaces where teeth are missing – food particles can become trapped in these spaces, too.
As long as you use the correct technique, the type of floss you use is a matter of personal preference. Either way, using the correct technique will help you remove the excess food particles and plaque buildup between your teeth and help improve your oral health.