How to Floss

How to FlossIt’s a question we hear often at the Sacramento Dentistry Group: “How necessary is flossing?”

It’s wonderful to tell us that you brush your teeth twice daily, avoid sugary items between meals, and make your regular Sacramento dentist appointments. When it comes to your oral health, however, flossing is really just as essential as cleaning your teeth.

Most clients think the important first purpose of flossing is removing food from between your teeth, but that’s not the complete story! Flossing also cleans out plaque — the slimy, bacterial biofilm clinging to the surface of your teeth. Plaque is the culprit behind tooth decay, gum disease, and even bad breath. Although brushing is an intelligent beginning, flossing gets rid of the plaque where your brush will not reach, like the spaces between the teeth. Scientifically speaking, flossing cleans the interdental surfaces of your teeth and lessens the chance of gum disease.

What Do You Mean You Don’t Have Time?

Many think that they just don’t have time to floss. But essentially, when done right, flossing only takes a few moments daily. Once you establish a routine, flossing is straightforward to do, and makes your mouth cleaner. More importantly, it greatly improves your dental health.

If you only floss once daily, the best time is promptly before going to bed. As saliva creation lessens during sleep, plaque in the mouth becomes concentrated, and potentially more debilitating.

“So where do I start?” clients ask. Let’s consider the steps.

Proper Flossing ProceduresProper Flossing Procedures

Since you’re sticking your fingers into your mouth, make certain to wash your hands before reaching for the floss. Then, complete these steps:

  1. Make certain you have enough floss — break off a piece about a foot and a half long. This might seem like too much, but it allows you to apply untouched sections of floss as you proceed from tooth to tooth. Wind it around your finger, leaving a couple of inches to floss with.
    Tip: Relax the cheeks and lips to make it easier to get your fingers into your mouth.
  2. Carefully slide the floss between your teeth. The floss shouldn’t make a lot of “popping” or “snapping” sounds while you use it. If so, ease up a little on the force you exert on the floss. Also, form a “C” shape with the floss as you wrap it around your tooth, then guide the floss up and down the tooth’s surface, from top to bottom.
    Tip: There are two sides to each gap between the teeth. Floss each one separately to avoid injury to the section of gum that rests in between.
  3. Go from one tooth to the next. As you go, use a clean section of floss.
  4. Work all around the mouth, and don’t overlook the backsides of the rear molars, which sometimes are neglected.

Some tests suggest that flossing before you brush your teeth is really more effective than flossing afterwards. The conclusion is that if you eradicate food and plaque first, the fluoride in your toothpaste makes better contact with the enamel on the teeth, making them stronger. Either way, the most essential thing is to floss every day of your life. Battle dental bacteria by removing the plaque that protects them and the food they live on! With daily flossing, you too might have teeth that endure a lifetime.

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