Flossing is a significant part of good oral hygiene, yet it is something most patients dread doing. As dentists we find that the majority of cavities form in-between your teeth where the bacterial biofilm or plaque is not cleaned properly which leads to decay. So how do you floss correctly?
- Purchase a floss that you are comfortable using. We recommend a waxed floss (ribbon or tape) as we find it is easier to slide between the teeth and is less likely to shred, but again this is a personal preference – it does not influence the level of cleanliness achieved.
- Tear off a piece of floss approximately 30cm long and wrap the floss around your middle fingers of both hands, with one finger having most of the floss.
- Hold it tight between your thumb and pointing finger and with a gentle side-to-side motion, move it between the teeth until it reaches the gum line.
- Once it reaches the gum line, gently wrap the floss around the side of the tooth forming a C shape and move it up and down, and side-to-side.
- Repeat the same technique on the other side of the tooth.
- Use a new section of floss and repeat the process between all of your teeth. Make sure you don’t forget the back of your last molar which is an area that is commonly missed.
Having trouble using normal floss? There are a wide variety of floss aids available including interdental brushes and floss handles. Some are better than others and it is all about what you feel works for you. These are available at your local pharmacy.
If you require any further information, or have a recommendation on which type of floss you feel is best (because you are all expert flossers now) then we want to know!