While you may brush your teeth twice each day – are you really flossing as often as you’re supposed to? The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing your teeth at least one time every day. For some reason, people often struggle to floss this regularly, although it’s a vital part of your oral hygiene. Without flossing, bacteria can build up between your teeth – where it has direct access to your gum tissue. Maintaining your tooth brushing is absolutely essential, but it won’t be able to reach all of the bacteria around your mouth – especially in those hard-to-reach places!
Properly Flossing Your Teeth
Since oral hygiene is a home-taught practice, it can be easy to develop improper techniques and habits that end up causing more damage to the gum tissue. Just like brushing your teeth – when either are done incorrectly, they’re not as effective as they should be. When bacteria is consistently left behind, it begins to build up and grow – often leading to dental infections like gum disease and tooth decay.
Let’s break those bad flossing habits and teach you how to really tackle all of that bacteria between your teeth!
Start by pulling a piece of dental floss out of its holder and remove it, but don’t cut it too short! Around 24 inches in length (2 feet) is ideal – that way, you’re not overusing any portion of the floss. Then, it’s easiest if you wrap the ends around your middle fingers (leaving enough space in between), and hold it comfortably to move the floss between your teeth. This is where many people develop bad habits – if you’re too forceful with the floss, it can cause “snapping” against your gum tissue. While it may take some time to get used to, try not to rush through flossing your teeth. Gently glide the floss back and forth (staying to one side or the other) to remove the bacteria on both teeth.
Don’t forget to floss between every tooth – even behind your very back molars!