A Complete Guide to Flossing Teeth

A Complete Guide to Flossing Teeth

Team General Dentistry

Flossing is a key element of maintaining your oral health. However, many patients do not floss properly, and others do not floss at all. Dentists encourage patients to learn more about flossing and how this simple practice can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Why Flossing Is So Important

Flossing removes plaque, bacteria, and food particles lodged between teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. If this debris remains in contact with your tooth enamel for an extended time, it will begin to wear the enamel away and leave an opening for tooth decay to take hold.

Flossing also helps to prevent gum disease by removing contaminants from your gums and between your teeth. If you choose not to floss, tartar will likely build up along your gumline.

Tartar is a hard substance created by plaque, bacteria, and food particles; only a dental professional can remove it. This substance inflames the gums and causes an immune system response that can lead to systemic health problems like diabetes, stroke, and preterm birth.

How to Floss Your Teeth

Since flossing does so much to protect your oral and overall health, you may want to know the best techniques. Our dentist and hygienist have assembled these tips to keep your teeth bright and clean.

  1. Use about 18" of floss, wrapping it around the middle finger on each hand.
  2. Hold the dental floss between your thumb and index finger. Allow a one- to two-inch strip between the fingers. Use your thumbs to guide the floss.
  3. Using a back-and-forth motion, guide the floss gently between the teeth.
  4. Hold the floss in a half-circle or C shape as you move on to the next step.
  5. Gently work the floss down to where the gum meets the tooth. Slide the floss against and beneath the gum line, maintaining the C shape.
  6. Each time you switch teeth, use a clean floss area.

Frequently Asked Questions About Flossing Teeth

I don't have time to floss. Can I use a rinse to protect my teeth?

Antibacterial and antiplaque rinses can be helpful, but they cannot replace a simple piece of floss to remove debris between the teeth. After you establish a routine, flossing takes only a few minutes once daily.

What happens if I don't floss?

If you don't floss, you may experience decay between your teeth. This decay is difficult to treat and may go unnoticed, worsening over time. Your gums may become inflamed and develop gum disease. In extreme cases, you may lose your teeth due to decay or severe gum disease.

Call Paramount Dental Arts

If you have questions about flossing, please call our Clifton, NJ, office at 973-777-1772. We can schedule an appointment with Dr. Schild, who will evaluate your oral health and let you know whether you can improve your home care routine.