Only 40% of Americans floss every day. And, more than one-third of American adults have gone more than two days without brushing their teeth.
Oral health is extremely important and impacts your overall health. If you’ve had gum disease for more than 10 years and are over 70, the odds are that you will develop dementia and a host of other health problems. Your dental health is directly related to your quality of life.
And flossing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your health and well-being.
Here are the five steps to flawless flossing:
1. Cut a Long Strip of the Floss
Your floss should be about 18 inches long, according to the American Dental Association. It should wrap well around one of the fingers of each hand.
If you use proper flossing technique, your hands will mirror one another. Wrapping your floss around the middle finger on your left-hand means you should do the same on your right.
Having such a long string of floss ensures that you can unwrap more floss and continue on after original sections of your floss become dirty.
2. Hold Your Floss Correctly
It’s easiest to hold your floss between your thumb and forefingers. This will help with dexterity, and avoid hurting your teeth and gums. Most people hold their floss tightly, as having a taut line is important.
3. Gentle Flossing
Be gentle with your teeth and gums, and make sure to guide the floss between the spaces of your teeth and up your gums. Don’t ever snap or pop your floss — as you could do more harm than good!
If you’re flossing with braces, you may need other dental tools, including a floss threader.
And if your gums ever begin to bleed, swish your mouth clean with water and focus on being more gentle with your teeth and gums. The more you floss, the stronger your mouth will become!
4. The Half-Moon
When you’re using proper flossing technique, as your floss gets closer to your gums, you will want to get up there using a “C” shaped or half-moon pattern.
Make sure to floss as far up into your gums as you can while remaining gentle with your mouth. That’s where debris gets stuck, and one of the most common causes of gingivitis.
When you’re moving between your gum and tooth, make sure you’re applying light pressure onto your tooth –almost like a scrubbing motion. Move the floss toward the tooth and away from the gum, and do this several times back and forth.
This step is especially necessary on your molars, or back teeth. They are important, but often forgotten!
Oral Health Matters
If you floss every day, you are in the upper echelon of Americans as far as oral health. Remind your family and friends about proper flossing technique, as the Center for Disease Control reports that half of Americans have gum disease.
And if you’re in the Chatanooga area, check out our general, restorative, cosmetic, and other dentistry services. We look forward to working with you!