Flossing is a necessity when it comes to proper dental hygiene. Merely brushing the teeth is not enough to reach all of those spots in between the teeth.
When people do not floss, plaque can build up in these areas, causing a myriad of dental issues. However, flossing incorrectly is just as bad as not flossing at all. If the floss is serving no purpose, then the mission has been defeated.
There are two types of floss out there: nylon and PTFE (Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center). Colgate notes that while both of these types are effective, PTFE is a bit more expensive, but it is also more durable.
It is recommended that 18 inches of floss is used for these purposes. The floss should be held taut between the thumb and index finger on both hands. Approximately one to two inches of floss should be left in between the hands. Each tooth must be flossed individually.
Using a zigzag motion, bring that one to two inches of floss in between each and every tooth to remove plaque and other particles that have become lodged in there. As individuals move between the teeth, they should use a new, clean, fresh section of floss for each tooth. Merely flossing with the same piece over and over again will simply redistribute the plaque and materials throughout the mouth.
After the sections between each tooth are finished, the floss should be used to slide up and down the surface of the tooth and in between the gum line. After this process is done, the flossing is finished.
How long does it take to floss? Well, it depends. Rushing through it is a bad idea, as it will provide a half-done job. Generally though, it takes several minutes to accomplish.
As individuals become more and more familiar with the techniques, the necessary time to floss will likely start to decrease. Once individuals know the techniques for flossing their teeth, they should also be aware of how frequently this process must occur. According to Know Your Teeth, it is best to floss at least once a day.
It does not really matter if people choose to floss before or after they brush, according to the American Dental Association. However, they should consider the fact that flossing can help to loosen up some of the particles on the teeth, thereby possibly allowing for a more thorough brushing.
One of the best ways to truly know how to floss is by having a professional demonstrate the technique. Interested parties should ask their dentists for a demonstration at the next appointment.
People who have braces should inquire with their orthodontist as to how to floss with braces on. Generally, the floss will have to be threaded underneath the wire, so practice is necessary, and parents will usually need to help children with this process for at least the first few times.
To get more tips on flossing or to make an appointment, visit Dr. Thane Ostroth, a Royal Oak Dentist practicing general and cosmetic dentistry.