How to floss teeth

Flossing is an essential component of maintaining good oral health. While tooth brushing cleans cleans three of the five visible surfaces on the tooth – the top, front, and back – flossing takes care of the sides of the teeth which account for about 40% of the tooth’s total surface.

If you do not wish to leave 40% of your teeth unattended, you should consider adding flossing to your daily teeth cleaning regiment.

Just as important to note, flossing plays an outsized role in the prevention of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that are left undisturbed over a prolonged period, and that are usually found in between teeth – you know, those hard-to-reach pockets that can only be flushed out through proper flossing. Yes, there is such a thing as proper flossing.

Before I start sharing flossing techniques, it’s good to first be aware of the types of dental flosses that do the trick, based on your particular situation.

What type of floss should I use?

Most people are unaware that there are different types of floss for different types of teeth. For example, if your teeth are closely packed together, you would be better off using the unwaxed type of floss. This type of floss is designed to glide through the tight spaces between crowded teeth without getting caught. The wax coating on waxed floss may make it harder to use in tight spots, but it is less likely to break.

Some versions of waxed floss are designed for use in tight spaces. Coated with a waxy substance, it slides gently between the teeth without fraying as easily as other types of floss.

The woven floss is made up of two braided strands of cotton. This type of floss can be adjusted to fit the spaces between your teeth. In tight spaces, simply pull the floss tight to fit it between compact spaces. In wide spaces, hold it loosely and the floss will become fuzzy, which helps to fill up the space. It works well for people with both tight and loose spaces in their teeth.

People with more space between their teeth should use dental tape, which being broader and flatter, is more comfortable to use than standard floss.

The right way to floss your teeth

The general idea of flossing is to slowly manoeuvre the thin string of flossing material in between your teeth to dislodge and remove food debris and bacteria caught in the spaces.

Using about 45cm of floss, hold the floss tightly between your index fingers and your thumb – this will prevent the floss from moving. Some people prefer to wrap the floss around two index fingers, so do whatever feels comfortable for you.

Now gently slide the floss up and down between each tooth. Once the floss reaches the gum line, you should carefully move it back and forth as you slide it up the tooth.

Follow the natural curve of your tooth as this helps to ensure that the maximum amount of plaque is removed.

Repeat this process with the next gap in the teeth. Don’t forget to use a clean section of floss for each tooth.

Choosing the right type of floss for your mouth is just as important as knowing how to floss correctly. If you are still unsure about what kind of floss to use after reading this, please talk to your dentist or dental hygienist.

The most important tip is this: Make sure you floss at least once every day. Also, do not rush the process but make sure you go through every gap between your teeth. 

Searching for a Canberra Dentist to partner your fight against cavities and gum disease?

Look no further than the Dentist Canberra website that caters to all your location-specific dental needs and enquiries. Visit:

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