We all know it’s important to take care of our teeth. The two common ways that teeth get damaged are through an accident or neglect. It may be our genetics that make accidental damage more likely. Sometimes accidents can’t be avoided. Fortunately, modern dental procedures such as dental implants or root canals are quite effective at fixing these problems. Damage through neglect, on the other hand, is entirely up to us. When going in for your regular dental checkup, at some point the dental hygienist will likely make a comment about flossing. The comment will either be that you have been doing a good job at flossing daily, or it will come as a recommendation. We all know that flossing is an important part of dental hygiene. Even if you are part of the 50.5 percent of Americans that floss daily, it is important to make sure you floss correctly.
How to Floss
There is no substitute for flossing. We all know the value of it, but sometimes it is helpful to put things in a different perspective. Imagine that every time you brush your teeth you only brush your top teeth. Day in and day out, your bottom row of teeth are completely neglected. You can also imagine the outcome. Flossing cleans about 40 percent of the surfaces on our teeth that brushing doesn’t effectively reach. Ready to start flossing everyday?
- Use an arm’s length of floss
- Use waxed or unwaxed floss, whatever you prefer
- Individual flossers can be used to make flossing more convenient
- Gently floss the curves of your teeth
- Move the floss in all directions, back and forth, up and down
- Gently floss the gum line between your teeth
- Don’t forget the hard to reach molars
- Remove the floss carefully with a back and forth motion
- Only floss once a day. Flossing too much can lead to serious gum damage
If you don’t already floss daily, it can be difficult to get into the habit. As a rule of thumb, it’s as difficult to start flossing as it is to quit smoking. Keep in mind your long term goal of having healthy teeth, and that rewarding moment when the dental hygienist compliments all of your hard work. All jokes aside, daily habits are often fragile at the start. Make sure you avoid “ah-screw-it” moments and skip flossing right before you go bed. Missing one day can quickly lead to another.