Flossing is a fundamental oral hygiene routine. It cleans and extricates food trapped between your teeth, hence reducing the number of bacteria and plaque build-up in your mouth. Plaque contributes to cavities and gum disease. While most individuals brush their teeth daily, not everyone flosses their teeth while at it.

It is not enough floss. It is vital to floss your teeth correctly. Improper flossing can potentially damage all your teeth. Therefore, if you are uncertain about the appropriate way to clean in between your teeth, below is a step-by-step guide on how to floss properly.

What is the correct way to floss?

Hopefully, you are aware that you should brush your teeth at least twice daily. However, do you know that besides brushing your teeth you should also floss twice per day too? Luckily, Shades Creek Dental talked to professional dentists about how to floss correctly, which you are probably doing wrong. Brushing cannot clean in between your teeth, thus if you do not floss, dangerous bacteria will be in your mouth. Besides giving you bad breath, bacteria can cause tooth decay. Therefore, it is best to floss at least twice a day, (using clean floss and not used floss) though preferably after every meal or sugary drink.   Now that you know how often you should floss, read on how to floss properly.

·  Wind. Wind 18 inches of floss around the middle finger of each hand.

· Guide. Hold the floss taut with your thumbs and index fingers, with a 1” – 2” in between the middle fingers. Using your thumbs and index fingers, directly floss between upper teeth and lower teeth.

·Glide. Using your index fingers, guide floss moderately between your teeth in a zig-zag motion. Do not let the floss snap in between your teeth.

· Shape. Using the floss, make a C-shape around one tooth.

· Slide. Gently slide floss upward and downward against your tooth surface beneath the gum line.

Ensure you floss the back teeth as well. Place all your fingers excluding the thumb in the floss circle and use your index finger to clean the back teeth. Floss each tooth meticulously with a clean section of floss. If you find flossing difficult or have any questions regarding flossing, contact our Homewood, AL dental office at 205-417-2750 and let us help!

Is it advisable to floss before or after brushing?

You do not need to be informed of the significance of good dental hygiene. Taking proper care of your teeth fights bad breath prevents gum disease, cavities, and contributes to a healthy set of pearl-white teeth. However, when it comes to flossing and brushing, like the majority, you may not be giving much thought to the correct order. As long as you do both regularly, you are good, right? Well, not essentially. Our dental care experts recommend flossing before brushing your teeth.

Why floss before brushing?

Proper dental hygiene incorporates more than simply brushing your teeth. Brushing is an ideal means of cleaning your teeth, removing dental plaque, and preventing cavities. However, it does not keep your teeth healthy and avert periodontal disease. Flossing contrariwise contributes to good dental health since it lifts and removes food and plaque in between your teeth.

Brushing after flossing helps remove released particles from your mouth. Thus, there is a less dental plaque in your mouth. Nevertheless, what are the benefits of flossing before brushing?

· Prevents gum disease (periodontal disease). Gum disease is a mouth infection that destroys the soft tissue and bones supporting your teeth. It occurs when there are too many bacteria on your teeth’ surface. Poor dental hygiene (improper flossing and brushing) and skipping routine dental cleaning lead to gum disease. Signs of periodontal disease are bad breath, swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth, and red tender gums.

· Eliminates plaque. Since plaque primarily causes periodontal disease, it is essential to floss and brush daily. The plaque often hardens on your teeth within 24 – 36 hours. Flossing your teeth regularly, and brushing afterward eliminates plaque.

How do I know if my flossing is right?

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of controversy on the vitality of flossing. However, every dental hygienist knows how fundamental flossing is to your oral health. Conversely, how certain can you be that you are flossing competently?

· When you floss. Floss before brushing. Floss reached in between your teeth thereby releasing plaque. Thus when you brush, you are more effectively removing the slackened plaque. Otherwise, you fundamentally leave the debris in your mouth until your next brushing.

· How long you floss. Flossing takes roughly five minutes. The initial start of your flossing routine may take time. However, once you are experienced and more comfortable, you can do it thoroughly in 5 minutes.

· How much floss do you use. Use about 15” – 18” of floss at each session. You should use a clean section of floss after cleaning each side of your tooth to avoid dispensing plaque around your mouth. Use floss picks when necessary for convenience like flossing the back teeth. Floss picks are not recommended for regular flossing.

·Your gums should not bleed when flossing. Avoid snapping the floss against your gums. Proper flossing does not cause bleeding gums. Gently move the floss up and down along each side of your teeth. This aims to clean the areas your toothbrush misses.

Flossing, unlike brushing, should be done once daily and correctly to accomplish its objective. At Shades Creek Dental, our highly qualified hygienists stress the significance of regular flossing. We know it is an integral part of your oral hygiene. Additionally, we remind you of the value of seeing your dentist and hygienist as recommended to accomplish and maintain optimum oral health, and eventually, overall health.

Are you supposed to floss under gums?

Proper flossing is vital for your oral hygiene. However, there are certain mistakes that you should avoid.

· Floss your teeth, not the gums. Improper flossing does not achieve the goal of cleaning your teeth and does more harm than good. Repeatedly pulling the floss down to your gums damages your gum tissue. Form a C-shape using the floss and draw it snugly around your tooth. Slide floss up and down against your tooth to ferret out food particles and plaque.

· Do not forget to clean under your gum line. Besides taking the floss up and down your tooth surface, you should also clean under your gum line. Keep the floss firmly against your tooth’s side. Go beneath the gum line on both sides of your tooth to remove any debris.

Types of dental floss

Dental floss comes in various forms. The best type of floss for you and your family members depends on your preferences, spacing in between your teeth, and if you have braces or bridges. Some dental floss is perfect for wider spaces while other types are ideal for tighter spaces.

The various types of floss incorporate:

· Dental tape. (Broader and flat-like ribbon floss). Dental tape is fit for persons with braces, gaps, or large spacing in between their teeth. An electric flosser or water flosser can also be used to remove plaque A water flosser is perfect if you have braces.

· Standard floss. (Thin, nylon strand fitting in between teeth). Standard floss can be flavored or unflavored and waxed or unwaxed. If you have crowded or close-together teeth, floss with wax coating as it can easily get in between them.

· Super flosses. Dental floss threader that can work with bridges, gaps, and braces. Super floss has a stiffened end for flossing below appliances, spongy floss for cleaning around appliances, and regular floss for removing plaque below your gum line.

Contact Shades Creek Dental today for proper oral hygiene!

Flossing is integral during tooth cleaning since it ferrets out plaque from between your teeth and at your gum line, where gum disease and tooth decay usually begin. Plaque comprises bacteria that eat leftover food and sugars in your mouth, releasing an acid that consumes the outer shell of your teeth, hence causing cavities or periodontal disease.

At Shades Creek Dental in Homewood, AL, we believe it is crucial to educate you on how to properly care for your teeth. Besides flossing and brushing twice daily, above are some proper flossing techniques you to best learn how to go about it. In case of any queries or emergencies, feel free to contact us.