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3 Flossing Tips From a General Dentist
A general dentist will always remind you of the cost savings of good oral hygiene. They will tell you that good oral habits will limit your dental visits to teeth cleaning and visual exams/
One challenging aspect of oral hygiene is flossing. The use of dental floss to remove holdover plaque from the sides of the teeth requires precision, technique, and patience. A few tips from a general dentist might help.
A general dentist explains how flossing helps with oral health
The front, back, and biting surfaces of the teeth are easy to reach with a toothbrush, a thorough hand, and patience to scrub plaque from these surfaces. The side surfaces of the teeth, however, are a different story.
For the person with a healthy bite, the side surfaces of the teeth touch each other. Only people with gaps in their teeth have a different experience. Reaching the sides of the teeth is difficult without dental floss. There are other benefits to flossing:
- Flossing removes plaque from hard-to-reach nooks of the teeth
- This, in turn, minimizes the chances of cavities, pulpitis, and gum disease
- Healthy teeth eliminate the need for dental procedures like fillings or scaling
- Keeping the teeth free from plaque also ensures a set of nice, white teeth
These benefits outweigh the difficulties of flossing. Here are a few tips on how to floss effectively.
Different types of dental floss work for different people
Individuals have different needs when it comes to dental floss. A person who has teeth that sit in a tight formation may need ultra-thin dental floss. An individual with teeth that sit farther apart should choose floss that is thick enough to touch the sides of both adjacent teeth.
Someone who wears braces might need a flossing pick for their dental floss. This small piece of equipment allows the dental floss to clean the hard-to-reach nooks that braces create. The same goes for someone who cannot get the hang of using dental floss.
Allocate sufficient time for flossing
Depending on the skill level of an individual, flossing can take between five and 10 minutes. Flossing at bedtime is a good idea because a person can take all the time they need, without worrying about running late for work or school. However, the person who can carve time out of their morning routine can floss with an energetic hand and a keen, well-rested eye.
Brush before flossing
There is an ongoing debate on when to floss. Some say before brushing, and others say that it does not matter, just so long as flossing happens once or twice a day. This is a third perspective: Floss after brushing. Brushing removes a good amount of plaque from the teeth, leaving the dental floss to deal with the plaque between the teeth.
Avoid using a sawing motion when sliding dental floss between the teeth. This sawing action could damage the gums and the teeth. Instead:
- Slide the floss on either side of a tooth so it forms a “C” shape around the base of the tooth
- Gently slide the floss up and down the length of the tooth, without pulling the floss from side to side
- Use a new section of floss for each tooth, to avoid cross-contamination
- Dispose of the entire length of floss after use; dental floss is not reusable
This technique will remove plaque without causing injury. With time and practice,, flossing becomes easier, eventually taking a shorter amount of time.
Get more oral health life hacks from a general dentist
Our general dentist is happy to provide primary dental care that concentrates on prevention and holistic treatment. Reach out today to find out how our dentist can help you maintain excellent oral health.
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