You know you should be flossing, but do you actually know how? Many people who visit family dentist Tyler Myers, DMD at North Park Family Dentistry in Columbus are surprised to learn that they aren't flossing the right way. Learn the proper technique here so you'll always have superb oral health.
The Purpose of Flossing
While many people floss to remove small pieces of food stuck in between their teeth, flossing actually serves a much larger purpose. Not only does the floss remove the pieces of food you can see, it also helps remove the small pieces of food and bacteria you can't see. Removing this food and bacteria is essential for reducing build-up and preventing oral health problems such as cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.
How to Floss
The process of flossing is quite simple, but it can take some getting used to.
- Start with about 18 inches of floss.
- Wind one end of the floss around the middle finger of one hand. Repeat with the other end and the other hand, so your two hands are tied together with the floss in between.
- Gently wiggle the floss between your teeth, all the way to the gum line.
- Gently pull the floss back and forth, working your way all along your tooth and gum line to remove any food or bacteria that may be hiding there.
- Repeat the process between every tooth and behind the back molars, replacing the floss as needed.
Flossing Tips for an Easier Experience
Flossing may be pretty simple and straightforward, but there are a few problems that Columbus residents mention to their family dentists again and again. If you are having difficulty flossing, here are a few tips that will help.
- Not Coordinated Enough with the Floss: Use floss picks. These sturdy little picks make flossing easy.
- Bleeding While Flossing: A little bleeding is completely normal when you first start flossing. It should go away on its own in just a few days. If not, it may be a sign of a dental problem or of a vitamin deficiency. Talk to your Columbus family dentist for advice.
- Have Braces: Flossing with braces can be difficult. Be sure to take your time, be careful to hit every crevice and use the special tools Dr. Myers recommends, such as a floss threader.