How to Floss

462040699For a simple, occasionally flavored, often waxed piece of string, it’s remarkable the impact floss can have on your oral health. Just by wrapping 18 inches of floss around your index finger or reaching for a floss pick, you arm yourself with a powerful tool in the fight against tooth decay and gum disease.

Dental floss helps to remove bacteria and food particles trapped between your teeth and under the gum line, areas your toothbrush just cannot reach. Failing to remove food and bacteria from between teeth and gums allows these substances to build up and greatly increases your risk of gum disease, bad breath and cavities.  At  LDA, your kids dentist Louisville, CO, we believe that flossing correctly is very important ti overall oral health and will gladly show you how

If that’s not bad enough, a growing amount of research has found that the inflammation caused by gum disease can directly lead to other health problems throughout the body. Recent research has found links between gum disease and such chronic long-term health concerns as stomach cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and diabetes.

To practice the best oral hygiene possible, you’d need to floss after every meal. Since that’s not practical for most people, it’s vital that you floss at least once a day, ideally in the evening before bed rather than in the morning since your mouth produces very little saliva while asleep. Low saliva flow means your body washes away very little bacteria naturally while asleep.

The Art of Flossing

The American Dental Association recommends spending two minutes brushing at least twice a day. After brushing, you’ll need to devout another few minutes to flossing until you master the habit.

If using traditional floss, unspool 18 inches from the container prior to flossing. Wrap the majority of floss around the index finger of whichever hand you feel most comfortable using – right hand for right-handed individuals, left hand for lefties – and then one-inch of floss on the index finger of your off-hand.

Starting at the upper right quadrant of your mouth, gently slide the floss between your back molars, pull the floss towards a tooth until it makes a C-shape and then gradually move the floss in a back-and-forth motion until under the gum line. Once you’ve flossed along each tooth, move along to the next set of teeth and continue making your way from right to left across the top row of teeth.

After cleaning between each tooth, wrap the used portion of floss around the index finger on your off-hand while unspooling fresh floss from the other finger. After you’ve finished with the top, start with the bottom left quadrant of your mouth, moving left to right repeating this process until done.

The use of dental floss picks makes flossing even easier, just make sure you replace picks after every couple of teeth.

What to Buy?

Walk down the oral health aisle at your local grocery store and you’ll see a wide variety of dental floss available for sale.  Your options will most likely include:

Waxed vs. unwaxed. While both are equally effective at removing food and bacteria from between teeth, waxed varieties are much easier to move between teeth and less likely to shred.

Flavored wax. An appealing option for parents hoping to keep their kids interested enough in flossing. For adults, whether to use flavored floss depends on the individual.

Wide ribbon or fine floss. As a general rule, wider floss typically works better at removing food than finer floss. However, if you have trouble fitting larger varieties of floss between your teeth, thinner floss is the way to go.

Floss picks. Convenient and disposable, floss picks are just as function as traditional floss and work great while on the go.