Many people are reluctant to floss their teeth because it can be tough to do, especially at first. We compare it to a physical fitness routine. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. When it’s a regular habit, you’ll do it almost without thinking about it – and maybe even feel bad if you miss a day. And like going to the gym, the benefits of flossing are well worth the initial discomfort!
Our Montgomery, AL dentists have five flossing tips to help you make this important oral hygiene habit a regular practice. Try them out and let us know! If you’ve got any questions about flossing or anything else, call us at 334-600-1423.
You’re Not the Only Reluctant Flosser
According to an American Dental Association recent study, nearly a third of American adults admit they never floss their teeth, while about 37 percent say they floss less than daily. Just 30 percent say flossing is a daily habit.
It’s important to floss, though. It helps remove plaque from spaces in between your teeth and other areas that a brush can’t reach. Plaque causes all kinds of dental problems, including cavities and gum disease.
From learning the proper flossing technique to using the right tools, here are our five flossing tips.
Learn the Right Way to Floss
You can learn to do anything by watching videos online, from changing your oil to scrambling an egg. Flossing is no exception. There are many good how-to videos online, including one from the ADA. Until it becomes second nature, it can help to look in a mirror as you floss. We’re also happy to show you proper the flossing technique during your dental exams.
Find a Floss You Like
You’ll be more likely to keep flossing if you use a product that you find easy to get in between your teeth. If your teeth are close together and you find floss a tight fit, make sure you’re using a thin floss. Look for a shred-resistant type. If you’ve got lots of space between your teeth, you may want to try dental tape. It’s wider and sturdier than regular floss.
Don’t Floss Too Vigorously
Don’t use a lot of pressure or “saw” back and forth when you floss. Forceful flossing doesn’t clean your teeth any better than a more gentle technique. In fact, it can make your gums bleed. Use a slow back-and-forth motion instead. Also, it’s normal to experience bleeding at first. If it doesn’t stop after a few days of regular flossing, though, give us a call.
Don’t Forget to Floss
Both the ADA and the American Academy of Periodontology recommend flossing every day. If you have trouble remembering, put your floss where you won’t miss it, maybe next to your toothbrush. You may also want to keep floss in other places where you often have a few minutes to spare, like in your desk at work or in your car. If you get stuck in traffic, you can get in some flossing!
Try Special Flossing Tools
If you still have trouble flossing no matter how much you practice, you can try tools that make it easier for you to hold tooth floss or use different approaches to cleaning between your teeth. For example, you can use a floss threader, which looks like a big plastic sewing needle. They’re especially helpful for getting floss under braces, fixed dental bridges, or dental implants. Proxy brushes use tiny bristles that fit in between your teeth.
Other options include:
- Floss loops
- Floss picks
- Soft picks
- Dental picks
- Interdental cleaners
- Water flossers like Waterpik
Our dentists are happy to discuss the pros and cons of these tools with you and help you find one (or more) that will work well for your smile. Or they can review any of our five flossing tips with you. Call 334-600-1423 to schedule your next appointment.