Flossing once a day is an important part of maintaining your dental hygiene and oral health, removing plaque and food particles your toothbrush cannot reach. Many people avoid flossing, often because they feel it is ineffective, unnecessary or even painful if they have sensitive gums, but this is usually due to using the wrong flossing technique. Here’s how to floss properly and keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Choose the right floss: There are many different types of floss available and finding one that suits you requires a little research. If you have larger gaps between your teeth, dental tape will be more effective. For teeth close together, waxed floss will allow you to clean in between your teeth more easily. If you have braces or dental work, a floss threader will be the most help.
- Prepare about 18 inches of floss, wrapping it around your two index fingers. This should be enough for all your teeth. Hold the floss tightly and leave about an inch exposed between your fingers – this is the floss that you will use. Use a gentle motion to push the floss between your teeth then move it along both sides of your teeth from the gum line downwards to remove plaque. Repeat on all your teeth!
- Rinse with mouthwash or water to remove any last food particles loosened by the floss.
If your gums are a bit sensitive or bleed a little, there is nothing to worry about – especially if you have not flossed regularly before. If they have not improved after about a week of regular flossing and you still experience bleeding, speak to your dentist about having a dental hygiene checkup.