If you make a concerted effort to floss your teeth every day, you're already ahead of the pack. With 20% of the population never flossing and less than half making it a daily commitment, you're doing a good thing for your oral health. However, technique is just as important as commitment. If you use poor technique while flossing, your teeth and gums could suffer as a result. Read on to make sure you're flossing your teeth correctly and getting the job done right the first time.
Why Technique Matters
As you no doubt know, sliding floss between your teeth helps to loosen and remove plaque and debris that toothbrush bristles simply can't reach. However, plaque is a sticky substance that doesn't necessarily let go with a single swipe between your teeth. The way you floss can determine whether your teeth are actually clean, and whether you still have plaque or bacteria hiding under your gums.
What You Should Be Doing
If you're simply pulling the floss up between your teeth and back out again, that isn't enough. Instead, follow this process when you floss:
Up One Side - When you slide the floss between your teeth, hold it taut against one side, dragging it across the surface of a single tooth.
Under the Gums - Once you reach the edge of the gumline, push the floss a little further to get under the gumline and remove plaque and bacteria.
Other Side - After you pull the floss out from your gums, switch to the other side, scraping along the tooth and going under that side of the gums.
Sticking to this technique will ensure that all surfaces are rid of as much plaque and bacteria as possible.
Checking For Mistakes
If you see your dentist on a regular basis, they will be able to tell if you're flossing correctly or not. You may even hear that your dental health has improved since the last time they saw you by following the above tips. However, you don't have to wait to see a dentist to find out if you're doing a good job.
Plaque disclosing products can help you to determine if your teeth are really clean or not. These products come in a variety of forms, including chewable tablets. The dye in these products only appears when it comes into contact with plaque. If your teeth are well-cleaned, you should see little to no indication that there's plaque. However, if your flossing or brushing needs improvement, your mouth may be significantly dyed.
Flossing is important, just like brushing and seeing a dentist on a regular basis. Keep doing what you're doing, but remember to take the time to do it right.