Your Guide to Proper Flossing Technique in Prescott
In our last blog post we talked about the benefits of flossing. So now that you’re aware of the importance of flossing, we can discuss proper flossing technique. You might think it’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re flossing too aggressively you can damage your gums. At Prescott Dentistry, we’re passionate about the health of your teeth and gums. And proper flossing technique is an important part of keeping them healthy and strong!
Flossing properly removes plaque and food particles in places a toothbrush cannot reach: between your teeth and under your gumline. A buildup of plaque in those unreached areas can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends daily flossing, and at Prescott Dentistry, we agree with that recommendation.
Proper Flossing Technique
- Step one. Break off a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wind the floss around each middle finger several times, leaving a few inches in the middle between the fingers.
- Step two. Hold the floss between your thumbs and forefingers, pulling it tight.
- Step three. Carefully guide the floss between two teeth. Do not force it into the gum. If the space between the teeth is tight, try gently moving the floss back and forth until it reaches the gumline. If the space is still too tight, please talk to our dental office.
- Step four. Once the floss has reached the gum line, curve the floss around the tooth, gently sliding it into the space between the gum and the tooth. Make sure to get the floss under the gum line, as this is where most inflammation and gum disease begins to form.
- Step five. Gently slide the floss along each side of the tooth, clearing any food particles. Be careful not to cut into the gums while sliding the floss up and down.
- Remember to floss all of the teeth. Don’t forget the back ones! Starting with the same tooth each time you floss can help you make sure you don’t miss any teeth in the process. And flossing at the same time each day can help you remember to do it daily.
- The sequence of brushing and flossing doesn’t matter, as long as you do both thoroughly.
- Check out these pictures or this video from the ADA for visual aids on proper flossing technique.
Other Flossing Considerations
It is fairly common for gums to bleed when you first begin flossing. However, if they continue to bleed after a few days, or if they bleed while brushing, be sure to call us for an appointment. This could be an indication of underlying gum disease.
Floss threaders make it easy to floss with dental appliances, so if you have braces or a retainer, you don’t get a pass on flossing!
For convenience, we suggest placing a pack of floss in your car, purse, and office in case you forget to floss at home, or you get something stuck in your teeth while at lunch.
If you’ve been flossing correctly, keep up the good work! If you still have questions about proper flossing technique, be sure to give us a call or talk to us at your next appointment. Don’t have one scheduled? Contact us at Prescott Dentistry today. We look forward to seeing you again, to help you keep those teeth sparkling and those gums happy!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/28/2019) Pixaby