What is the proper way to floss?
Proper flossing removes plaque and food debris in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach: below the gum line and between teeth. Since the accumulation of plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is recommended.
Take advantage of flossing and adopt the following technique:
- Take about 45 inches of floss, wind most of it around each middle finger, leaving 3 to 5 cm of thread to work
- Hold the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, and slide it gently up and down between teeth
- Curve the floss gently around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
- Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
- To remove the thread, using the same backward and forward, pulling it upwards and away from the teeth
What kind of floss should I use?
There are two types of floss:
- Nylon floss (or multifilament)
- PTFE dental floss (monofilament)
Flossing can be nylon or waxed, and there are a variety of flavors. Since this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points. While more expensive, the floss of a single filament (PTFE) slides easily between teeth, even among those with limited space, and generally does not fray. If used properly, both types of floss are excellent at removing plaque and debris from aliments.
- Use about 45 cm (18 “) of floss, leaving 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2”) to work.
- Gently follow the curves of your teeth. Each time you insert the thread into an interdental space, first apply it to the back surface of the anterior teeth and then to the anterior surface of the posterior teeth…
- Be sure to clean under the gumline, but avoid snapping the floss against it.