Feeling comfortable and confident in your brushing technique is a great feeling. If you’re not feeling the same way about flossing, you can! While flossing usually takes a little practice to fully get the hang of, its no problem once you’ve got it down.
- If you’re choosing to use traditional, waxed floss pull about 20 inches of it out of the box, and wrap the ends around your fingers till you have about 5 inches or so between them. Its usually easiest to wrap the floss around your middle finger, as your forefingers and thumb will be manipulating it. Pull the floss taut.
- Using a very gentle and controlled motion, place the floss in between the bottom of two teeth and slowly follow it up the curve of one of the two teeth. This means if you’re going to do the right tooth first you would follow the curve of the right tooth. Do this all the way till the gum line, where the floss should very gently tuck under the gum line. This part of flossing is important. While getting the food and plaque stuck between your teeth is necessary, the bacteria that can become trapped right under the fold of gum that meets the teeth is especially harmful. If you’re doing it correctly you’ll feel like you’re flossing in a C.
- As you move along from tooth to tooth unspool some of the floss from your fingers and then rewrap it. This is usually the part of flossing people find most difficult. If you are arthritic or just don’t see yourself getting the hang of it, there are other options! First you can try moving along a strand of floss without wrapping it around your fingers. Then you can ask your dentist if they have any other methods of flossing that might suit you better. Lastly, remember that floss that is spooled in a box isn’t your only option. There are many different flossing products out there and one of them might be easier for you to use. For instance there are individual picks with forked ends with floss threaded through them that you can buy. They also have floss threaders which make getting in between teeth when you have any sort of mouth appliance much easier.
- Remember to pay special attention to the very back teeth. This is a prime spot for gum disease and cavity formation. Although they can be hard to reach, the work is worth it.
- If you experience any discomfort or bleeding when flossing you can relax. Gums that bleed easily usually haven’t been flossed in a while and are probably sensitive because of the early stages of gingivitis. The more you continue to floss the sooner these symptoms will resolve themselves. If you continue to experience real pain when flossing or your gums bleed every time, be sure to ask your dentist.
Call Dr. D’Alfonso of Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule an appointment. Finally you’ll have a chance to show off what kind of flossing you’ve been doing!