Even if you’re already brushing your teeth twice a day, you can still improve your oral hygiene routine by flossing. Although brushing removes a lot of the plaque built up throughout the day and overnight, it can’t remove everything. Flossing removes plaque that builds up between the teeth, which is where cavities often form.
Ridgetop Dental is a Reston, VA dentist’s office dedicated to helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. Learn more about your oral hygiene routine and how you can prevent cavities.
Why Is Flossing So Important?
Naturally occurring oral bacteria combine with saliva and food particles to create a clear, sticky substance called plaque, which builds up on the teeth. Brushing every day removes plaque from the surface of the teeth, but it doesn’t remove what has built up between the teeth. Brushing only removes some of the plaque — the rest lives in places your toothbrush cannot reach.
Flossing makes a huge difference in your oral health. You can avoid painful, time-consuming dental treatments by flossing every day.
How to Floss Correctly
1. Wrap about eighteen inches of floss around your two middle fingers. Wind most of the floss around one finger so you can wind the used portion around the other finger as you finish between each tooth.
2. Push the floss between two teeth and use a back-and-forth motion from top to bottom, making sure to make contact with the gums.
3. Wrap the floss around the side of one tooth in a “U” shape, going up and down the tooth. Repeat several times and be sure to go slightly beneath the gum line, then repeat on the other side of the tooth. The goal is to remove plaque from all sides of the teeth, making sure to also remove plaque built up on the gum line.
While you’re flossing, always remember to continually wind the used portion of the floss around the other finger. Plaque sticks to the floss, and you want to keep using a clean segment of floss so you don’t just move the plaque to a different tooth.
Don’t worry if you bleed a little bit when you floss, especially if you don’t do it regularly. The bleeding comes from inflammation caused by the plaque, and regular flossing will help reduce this inflammation within one to two weeks.
Floss Picks Are Less Effective Than You Think
Some patients prefer to use floss picks. These “Y” shaped pieces of plastic with floss strung between the “arms” of the “Y” are widely available at most stores. However, dentists prefer using a length of “free” floss and your hands. Floss picks don’t allow for proper flossing due to the fact that you cannot wrap them around a tooth in the “U” shape recommended. However, it’s still better than not flossing at all.
Schedule An Appointment With Your Dentist
If you have any additional questions about brushing, flossing or your oral health, call (571) 313-7010 or schedule an appointment online with Ridgetop Dental in Reston today.