10 Steps to Floss Correctly

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How to Floss in Whittier, CA

Learning how to floss your teeth correctly in Whittier, California, is critical to good oral hygiene. Flossing prevents periodontal disease by removing plaque, helping to preserve the life of your teeth and gums. If plaque is not removed, the bacteria attacks the enamel in your teeth, causing halitosis (bad breath), decay, cavities and even tooth loss.[1]Flossing is an easy way to effectively remove plaque and its bacteria from between the teeth and ideally, it should be done at least once a day. If you want to know how to floss correctly, see Step 1 to get started.

Steps to Floss Correctly

1. Use the most effective dental floss

There are several varieties available and you can choose the one that best matches your personal preference, including waxed, unwaxed, flavored and unflavored. Here’s what you need to know to make a decision about which type of floss is best for you.

Waxed dental floss tends to slide between teeth more easily.

If you have wider gaps between your teeth, then tape floss may work best.

Floss can come in two main forms: Nylon (or multifilament) and PTFE (or monofilament). Single-filament floss is slightly more expensive, but it will be able to slide between teeth more easily and will be less likely to shred. Each container of floss lasts a long time, so using non-nylon floss is a worthwhile investment.

2. Wrap floss around your fingers

Take approximately 18 inches (45 cm) of dental floss and wrap most of the floss around your two index fingers. You should wrap it around your fingers nice and tightly. If you do this correctly, you should be able to floss all of your teeth in one go, instead of having to go back for more floss. You can wrap it around your middle fingers instead, but wrapping the floss around your index fingers will give you the most control when you’re flossing your teeth.

Most people like to floss after brushing. This will allow the toothbrush to start removing the stray particles of food from your teeth before you even begin to floss. Brushing your teeth after flossing can also make it more likely for fluoride to get stuck in your gums, and you want to avoid that.

3. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers

You should leave about 3-4 inches (7.5-9 cm) of the floss exposed. This is the area you’ll be using to floss your teeth. Once you wrap the floss around your index fingers, you can grab it with your index fingers and thumbs. Your thumbs can be more helpful in flossing your upper teeth and your index fingers can be more helpful in flossing your bottom teeth.

4. Gently slide the floss between your teeth

It doesn’t matter which tooth you start with as long as you cover every tooth before you finish. However, most people like to start in the middle between the two top teeth or the two bottom teeth. Once you’ve picked an area, slide the floss gently between your tooth and the gum line. You should do this carefully instead of being too aggressive, or you’ll increase the chances of bleeding or hurting your gums.

Do not snap the floss down into the gums. Think of it as gently rubbing the floss between the gum line and the teeth, not vigorously yanking it around.

5. Move the floss gently in a “C” motion

Use the C motion when it makes contact with the gums and use a gentle up and down motion to clean the area. After you slide the floss between your teeth, you should curve it around the bone and let it dip below the gum line (ideally, it should dip about 2-3 millimeters down). Once the floss is in place, move it up and down to agitate the area carefully. This will help reach the contours of each tooth.

Additionally, floss in a back and forth motion to help scrape additional plaque and debris. When you’re done, gently move the floss back out the way it came.

6. Repeat the process between each tooth

Make sure to floss your teeth one at a time — don’t wrap your floss around the gum of one tooth as well as the gum of another. This will make the process less precise, and you’ll be more likely to hurt your gums. Clean floss can be acquired by unraveling the extra floss that is wrapped around the index finger. Make sure you use a new piece of floss for each tooth. If you’re really getting in there and run out of clean floss, pull out some new floss to finish the process.
You may experience some bleeding in your gums. This is a sign that your gums actually need to be flossed more often. Bleeding gums often discourage people from flossing because they don’t want to deal with the pain, but you should know that your gum bleeding and swelling should go down once you make a true habit of flossing.

7. Don’t forget the backs of your rear molars

Gum disease and tooth decay frequently occur on the back teeth. It can be a little bit harder to get in there, but you shouldn’t neglect this crucial part of flossing. Gently slide the floss between your rear molars and your gums, and carefully pull both sides of the floss toward you as you agitate the area.

8. Rinse your mouth out with mouthwash or water when you’re done flossing

After you floss, rinsing out your mouth can help you remove any stray particles that were nearly dislodged from your gums, or which you were able to remove but which were left in your mouth. This will also help give your mouth a fresh, clean feeling.

9. Floss your teeth at least once every day

The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests flossing for 2 to 3 minutes, but even 60 seconds of flossing daily can significantly improve your gum health. Most people floss before bed. If you know you’ve had a meal that led you to have more food stuck in your teeth than usual (such as having corn on the cob for lunch), then you can floss earlier, too, to get out the stray particles of food. However, you don’t want to overdo the flossing, either, or you may damage your gums. Just once a day should be the perfect amount.

Stop making excuses! Everyone can carve out 2-3 minutes a day for flossing.

When you floss your teeth, try to create a pattern. If you tend to floss your teeth in the same order — such as starting in the middle of the top teeth, then going all the way from the top middle to the top right side of your teeth, and then all the way from the top middle to the top left before moving down to the bottom teeth — then you’ll be less likely to neglect certain teeth. Once you get your routine down, you’ll find that flossing isn’t as painful as you thought it was — it can even be fun!

If you have dental work that makes it a little more challenging to floss, you can use floss threaders, which can help hold the floss in place as you clean your gums.

10. Consider flossing using a water flosser in addition to flossing

A water flosser, also known as a water pick or an oral irrigator, is a device that aims a stream of water at your teeth. It can help remove particles of food from your teeth and can also help reduce gum disease as well as bleeding. It can also make the process a bit more fun. However, don’t listen to the studies that say a water flosser can serve as a substitute for flossing; it can work in addition to flossing, but should not be used as a substitute.[4]

Flossing Tips – Whittier 90602

  • Eating a healthy diet and visiting the dentist regularly will also help prevent gum disease.
  • Proper dental hygiene may reduce your risk of heart disease, according to an article published by the Journal of Periodontology, .
  • The fluoride in toothpaste has a better chance of reaching between teeth if you floss before brushing.
  • Dental floss is the most widely used tool for flossing, but there are many other interdental items available (i.e. floss holders or picks) that will achieve the same results.

Flossing Warnings

Do not use a strand of dental floss more than once. The floss will become frayed, bacteria will accumulate, and the floss will lose its effectiveness.