Every time I go in to see the dentist for that annual cleaning, I hear the same thing.
“You only need to floss the ones that you want to keep.”
I think it’s the joke of the industry and everyone uses it. Still, there’s something very important in the statement. You see, I’m the guy that simply loves to floss my teeth. In the car, at home watching television, and of course every evening after a good and thorough brushing.
If you’re not in love with dental floss, then you probably don’t realize not only how important it is for good oral hygiene but also how great it makes your teeth feel.
Consider teeth like boxes stacked up against each other. Two sides show while two sides are against each other. Now imagine how much a tooth brush can clean those two sides of your teeth that are against one another. Not much, right?
Brushing alone simply isn’t enough to reach the plaque from the inside surface between your teeth. The Interproximal areas or places between your teeth and below the gum line are two spots where the toothbrush simply can’t reach and old food particles get stuck, becoming a perfect growth environment for plaque.
These are the places where cavities are also likely to develop. Once plaque hardens, it needs removed at that regular visit to the dentist I was telling you about above.
Daily flossing however, cleans out the plaque before it completely hardens, keeping your teeth looking better, and healthier, and removing a major cause of bad breath.
Drumroll please……So Enter Dental Floss and the act of flossing. Dental floss looks simply like thread, usually made of inorganic material such as nylon.
Dental floss comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes including waxed, non-waxed, flat, round and textured, with baking soda, with fluoride and even with it’s own dental floss holders. These items can be found at drug stores, grocery stores or through medical supply stores.
So when flossing, find one that you like. My personal favorite is mint flavored waxed. Boy, you just can’t beat the ease of use and minty flavor. Anyway….Dental floss comes on a roll in a plastic container. Pull off a couple of feet of floss. Hey, it’s cheap and it makes the job much easier.
Next, wind one end around your index finger a couple of times. The trick here is to wind it around enough that you can pull the long end and it won’t slip off your finger. Now grasp the long end, wrap it once or twice around your other index finger leaving about 1-2 inches of floss between both fingers and prepare for a wonderful experience.
Simply open your mouth, place one finger against the 1-2 inch piece of floss and push between two teeth. When just starting out, use any teeth that you’re comfortable reaching.
Now once the floss is between your teeth, use it like a little brush and pull it against one tooth and move it up and down between the teeth then do the other tooth surface.
Finally pull the dental floss out from between those two teeth.You should feel a little tug and a snap as the floss frees itself from between the two teeth. Sometimes with a good build up of plaque, this snap will release little pieces of white like goo. This is good.
Next, wrap another two inches of floss around your index finger, grab the long end again with another inch or two of clean dental floss and you’re ready for the next teeth. Repeat with another two teeth until you go around and clean between all of them.
Personally, I can do several teeth before I need to “freshen” my floss. Flossing leaves your mouth feeling clean and fresh without the need to artificial breath fresheners.
If done right with healthy teeth and gums, flossing will not by itself cause your mouth or gums to bleed. Bleeding can happen however if you accidentally push the floss into your gums to hard. Not to worry though, a quick rinse with cold water will usually take care of everything.
One final word of caution. Flossing can be addictive, so don’t do it more often than recommended.