All of us make New Year’s resolutions, but following through with them isn’t always easy. This year, we are challenging you to make flossing a part of your everyday dental hygiene routine. To help you stay diligent in 2018 (and beyond), we have put together some flossing tips and tricks.
Why Flossing is Important
Brushing your teeth twice once in the morning and once at night isn’t enough to keep plaque from building up on and between your teeth. In order to keep your mouth healthy, it is important that you also floss.
When foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugars get stuck on and between our teeth, the bad bacteria in our mouths turn these food particles into acid. This acid contributes to the buildup of plaque, which breaks down tooth enamel and creates cavities.
Flossing is essential because it helps break up the plaque that has formed between your teeth in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. If this plaque is not removed, it can eventually harden into a rough substance called tartar and leave you at a greater risk of developing diseases and infections, including cavities and gingivitis.
Proper Flossing Technique
The American Dental Association recommends flossing between your teeth once a day. So long as you do a thorough job, the time of day that you floss doesn’t matter. Just pick a time when you have a few extra minutes.
The ADA suggests following these flossing guidelines:
- Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger on the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
- Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.
Reminder Tips + Tricks
Here are a few tips and tricks that will put you on the right track to turning flossing into a habit:
- Create a cue. Whether you set an alarm on your phone, put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, or place your floss on top of your toothpaste, create a simple cue that will remind you to floss.
- Pick the right tool for you. If traditional floss isn’t for you, there are plenty of flossing tools that can help you get the job done. Invest in floss picks or a Waterpik to help you stay consistent.
- Take floss with you. If you are always on the go, or have a hectic morning routine, pack a container of floss in your bag or desk drawer at work so that you can floss on the go if you forget to do it while you’re at home.