Flossing is a commonly misunderstood beast. With so many resources out there demonstrating the wrong way to floss we figured it would be a good time to get back to the basics and reiterate the most effective flossing techniques.

How Often Should I Floss?

Flossing is something that should be done once a day, every day, for the rest of your life. If you miss a day here or there it won’t be the end of the world but ensure you don’t make it a habit. You only get one set of adult teeth so treat them well!

When Should I floss?

Flossing before or after teeth doesn’t matter as long as it’s done and your rinse your mouth with water afterwards. Surprisingly there have been no studies done to determine what the best time of day to floss is. Most people however choose to floss at night, and we think this is the best option. When you sleep you mouth can dry out and create a wonderful habitat for certain bacteria. These bacteria break down amino acids and proteins left in your mouth from dinner which do two things, encourage tooth decay and release volatile sulfuric compounds. These compounds create a certain aroma also known as “Morning Breath”. Flossing before you go to bed helps to remove as much bacteria as possible from your mouth before you lay down to sleep. We’re not saying it’ll cure all morning breath, but it will definitely help.

How Do I Floss?

Now for the real question, what is the proper flossing technique? In order to floss properly you need to make sure you have a good floss. When buying try to buy a think monofilament floss. Polyfilament flosses have a larger capacity for shredding in use minimizing their effectiveness. Once you have that follow these steps:

  1. Start by ripping off a piece of floss about 18 inches long (or use your forearm for measurement)
  2. Wrap the floss around the middle finger of either hand until it’s almost all the way wrapped.
  3. Wrap the other end of the floss once around your other middle finger and grip the floss tightly between the middle finger and thumb of both hands.
  4. Slide the floss down in between the two back molars (left or right, top or bottom doesn’t matter) and begin to move the floss up and down along the side of the tooth.
    1.  Do not move the tooth in a front to back motion. This can cause grooves to form on the side of your tooth and eventually wear away the enamel. 
  5. Curve the floss around the base of the tooth and get down below the gum line. Don’t dig here! a little bit of pain when you’re not used to flossing is normal, but you can definitely hurt yourself and your gums if you find yourself digging in with the floss.
  6. Repeat for the adjacent tooth.
  7. Remove the floss and unwrap a new length of floss.
  8. Move down to the next set of teeth and repeat until you have gotten every tooth.
  9. When finished rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.

Each set of teeth should take you about 10-15 seconds once you get into a good routine.  This will ad a bit of time to your nightly routine but no more than 3-4 minutes, and those are minutes well spent!

Wrap Up

Flossing isn’t as scary as it seems, but it does take some getting used to. If you have any questions, or nerves, about flossing then feel free to reach out to us at http://www.hospitaldentalgroup.com. We have a well trained and well loved staff here who are more than happy to help you with any questions you may have along the way. thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time!