The Complete Guide to Flossing

Most people overlook flossing, but it is an important oral hygiene habit that is crucial. It supports the toothbrush by cleaning and pushing food stuck between your teeth, which even the best toothbrush can’t reach and dislodge.

Why Flossing Matters?


You might think that you are in the safe zone when brushing your teeth twice per day, but we advise you to think again. Flossing helps kick out food particles that are stuck in tight spots, or at least aids in lifting these particles, for your toothbrush to then remove them completely. It is essential to remove food debris that can result in plaque formation accelerating both tooth decay and increase in the probability of gum diseases, including but not limited to gingivitis and periodontitis. 

Types of Dental Floss


It might seem overwhelming to choose the most suitable dental floss, but simply put it depends on your case. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter HOW you do it, but how LONG you do it. But here’s a general overview of the flosses that you might find in your nearby pharmacy.


Different types of dental floss include: 


  1. Nylon Floss: This traditional floss comes in waxed and unwaxed varieties and is available in different thicknesses to suit individual preferences.


  1. PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) Floss: Also known as “glide” floss, PTFE floss is made of plastic that slides easily between teeth, making it ideal for people with tight spaces between their teeth.


  1.  Dental Tape: Dental tape is broader and flatter than traditional floss, making it suitable for individuals with sensitive gums, braces, gaps, or large spaces in between your teeth 


  1.  Floss Picks: Floss picks consist of a small plastic handle with a piece of floss stretched between two prongs. They’re convenient for people who struggle with traditional flossing techniques.

How to Floss Properly


Now here comes the most technical part. How do you floss correctly? Here’s the step by step guide to floss like a pro. 


  1. Use Enough Floss: Cut off about 18 inches of floss and wrap the ends around your middle fingers, leaving about one or two inches of floss between them.


  1.  Gently Insert the Floss: Slide the floss between your teeth using a gentle back-and-forth motion. Avoid snapping the floss into your gums, as this can irritate you.


  1. Curve Around Each Tooth: Curve the floss into a C shape around the base of each tooth and gently move it up and down to remove plaque and debris.


  1. Use a Clean Section of Floss: As you move from tooth to tooth, unwind a fresh section of floss to ensure you’re not transferring plaque from one tooth to another.


  1. Don’t Forget the Gumline: Be sure to gently floss beneath the gumline to remove plaque and prevent gum disease.


  1. Be Thorough but Gentle: Flossing should be thorough, but it’s essential to be gentle to avoid damaging your gums.

When to Floss:


The best time for you to floss is one that perfectly suits your daily routine and schedule. 

Some might say to floss as soon as you wake up, but others might suggest before bedtime. At the end of the day, making sure you are consistent with it, is what’s going to make the difference.


Should I brush or floss first?


Again it doesn’t really matter if you floss or brush your teeth first. As long as you are doing your best job that’s enough. 


However, one study suggests that flossing first and then brushing is better. The study pointed out that flossing first dislodges the placement of the bacteria and then brushing removes these particles. 

It also added that brushing second increased fluoride concentration in the interdental plaque, which could reduce the risk of future tooth decay in the long run.

Key Takeaways


Make sure to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste for at least 2 minutes. In addition, use an interdental cleaner, such as a floss, once a day. You can floss either after or before you brush. 


To learn more about cleaning your teeth and other dental treatments available, we welcome you to book an appointment with Alsafwa Medical Center. We provide a comprehensive choice of general dentistry treatments to restore and maintain good oral health.

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