An essential part of taking care of your teeth is regular flossing. Still only 4 out of 10 Americans floss daily. The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth once a day. Flossing cleans the surface of your teeth that cannot be reached by brushing alone to remove food and plaque. Any proper oral hygiene routine must include flossing to help prevent cavities and gum disease.

Why flossing is important?

Plaque can hide in all the crevices in your mouth, collect below the gum line, and develop into tartar. Plaque contains bacteria that feeds on leftover food or sugar in your mouth. When that happens, it releases an acid that can eat away at the outer shell of your teeth and cause cavities. This can result in inflammation and cause bleeding gums. Cleaning between your teeth removes plaque before it can harden into tartar (or calculus). Once hardened, this tartar collects along the gum line and can lead to gum disease.

The best time to floss your teeth?

As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter when. Pick a time of day when you can devote an extra couple of minutes to your dental care, such as, first thing in the morning or after lunch. Others might like to go to bed with a clean mouth. Even if you haven’t flossed for years, it is time to make it a habit.

What should I use to clean between my teeth?

There are several options for cleaning between teeth. Dental floss, dental picks, pre-threaded flosser, or tiny brushes that reach between the teeth. Water flossers can clean between teeth if you have dental work that makes flossing difficult, like braces or permanent or fixed bridges. It is best to use dental floss, rather than one of the alternatives listed above. Talk to your dentist about what types of dental care products will be most effective for you.

How to properly floss your teeth?

Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth. It’s normal to feel some discomfort when you first start, but this discomfort should ease within a week or two. Keep in mind that cleaning between your teeth should not be painful. Never snap the floss into the gums to avoid damaging the tissue between your teeth. If your pain persists, contact our office for an appointment.

Proper oral hygiene, regular exams and cleanings are the best way to avoid dental problems. If you’re interested in learning more about flossing, make an appointment with us today. Call Wesley Chapel at 813-701-5074 or Citrus Park at 813-961-1032 to schedule appointment.