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Most of us know that you should brush and floss your teeth daily but unfortunately, only about 40% of Americans floss every day and 20% never floss at all. Obviously, it is important to get into the habit of flossing but you should also be sure to floss correctly. What does flossing correctly look like? Use this guide from Healthline to safely and effectively clean your teeth.
- Break off about 18 to 24 inches of dental floss. To hold the floss correctly, wind most of the floss around both of your middle fingers. Leave only about 1 to 2 inches of floss for your teeth.
- Next, hold the floss taut with your thumbs and index fingers.
- Place the dental floss in between two teeth. Gently glide the floss up and down, rubbing it against both sides of each tooth. Don’t glide the floss into your gums. This can scratch or bruise your gums.
- As the floss reaches your gums, curve the floss at the base of the tooth to form a C shape. This allows the floss to enter the space between your gums and your tooth.
- Repeat the steps as you move from tooth to tooth. With each tooth, use a new, clean section of floss.
When is the best time to floss?
You know the saying “Timing is everything,” well, that applies to flossing, too! Many people have developed a routine of brushing first and then flossing. However, it is recommended that you floss first and then brush your teeth.
According to Healthline, flossing helps remove food particles and plaque stuck between your teeth so that when you brush, you remove this debris from your mouth. If you brush first, the particles that are loosened by flossing will remain in your mouth until the next time you brush your teeth.
Types of dental floss
Dental floss comes in many varieties including
- Dental tape – flat like a ribbon; good for braces or large gaps between teeth
- Standard floss – thin, nylon strand
- Super floss – a dental floss threader; great for braces, bridges, and gaps
- Waxed floss – wax-coated floss is easier for getting between crowded teeth
- Floss picks – easy to handle and to reach teeth in the back of your mouth
- Water flossers – an electric tool that uses water and pressure to remove particles from between your teeth
To achieve optimal oral hygiene, it is important to floss daily and correctly. Flossing reduces the risk of tooth decay and gum disease by removing bacteria, plaque, and food debris from your teeth. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once per day and brushing twice per day!