It’s not a secret that flossing your teeth is important to good dental health. Just like brushing your teeth twice a day with an ADA-approved toothpaste, flossing is a key step in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. If you’re not doing it the right way, you’re missing benefits and in danger of injuring your teeth and gums, and according to statistics, you may not be flossing correctly. Studies have shown that not only do a majority of people not floss on a daily basis at all, those who do aren’t doing it effectively. To help you keep your teeth and gums healthy, our dentists in Cary and Holly Springs are providing you with a thorough guide to flossing.

Why Dental Floss Is Important

There are more than 500 types of bacteria found in dental plaque. While some of these are necessary and good for your dental health, many of these are not. Brushing your teeth removes food particles and plaque from your teeth and gums so bacteria can’t feed on them and form cavities or lead to gingivitis. Flossing gets between the teeth to remove bits of food that get stuck as well as scrape away any plaque that may have built up there where brushing can’t reach. Brushing your teeth without flossing makes you susceptible to cavities and decay forming between the teeth.

Flossing and Gum Health

One of the main reasons people give for not flossing is that it hurts their gums or causes bleeding. However, flossing can actually improve your gum health, remove particles and bacteria that can cause inflammation, and minimize or eliminate bleeding. This will also minimize your likelihood of developing gingivitis, a leading cause of gum pain and bleeding.

How to Floss Your Teeth Correctly

The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re using a dental floss that is comfortable for you. Some people prefer waxed for a smoother glide and some people prefer flavored varieties. Truthfully, as long as you’re using dental floss (as opposed to string or another material), waxes, flavoring, and other features are a matter of preference.

When flossing, most people simply pull the floss up and down between the teeth, but in order for it to be effective, you must be comprehensive in how you do it. That includes following these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Take 18 to 24 inches of dental floss and wind it around your index fingers, with more on one index finger than the other. Keep two inches pulled taut between your fingertips.
  2. Ease the dental floss down between your teeth and gently pull it against the side of the tooth, forming a C or a U shape. Scrape or scrub the side of the tooth using the floss in an up-and-down motion to remove any plaque from the side of the tooth, taking care to go under the gumline with the floss.
  3. Remove the floss, wind the used part around your index finger as you unwind fresh floss, then repeat the action on the side of the adjacent tooth.
  4. Continue this, ensuring the sides of each tooth are thoroughly clean.
  5. After each space between the teeth has been cleaned, rinse with mouthwash or water to remove any loosened debris.

Schedule a Checkup with Our Dentists in Cary Today

In addition to brushing and flossing, having regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings are an essential part of effective preventative dental care. To schedule an appointment, Give our dentist office in Cary a call at (919) 467-2203 or reach out to our Holly Springs dentist office at (919) 600-6262 and you can also use a contact form to request an appointment.