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Are You Flossing Correctly?

By Dr. Tina Mukai, Premier Dental Group HI Waipahu

woman holding flossWhile brushing your teeth at least twice a day is vital when it comes to keeping your pearly whites healthy, there’s another daily oral hygiene habit that’s just as essential too: flossing.

There’s no way to remove the bacteria and plaque in between your teeth with just the toothbrush. No matter how well you’re brushing, the bristles will never reach between these little crevices. The flossing not only will keep you from getting tooth decay between your teeth but flossing can also prevent gingivitis and gum disease.

So Many Flossing Options

From flavored floss to flossers with handles, there are many ways to get the job done. We recommend, however, using old-school traditional dental floss. Wax floss that is a little thicker is usually better unless you have tight teeth and the floss ends up breaking when using thicker floss. If that’s the case, you can use something a little thinner to get between your teeth.

About those Flossers

Flossers with handles are commonly used, however, they are stiff and not flexible enough to get into those tooth contours to do the job well. You also can’t control the flosser as well as traditional floss. Nevertheless, flossers are better than nothing but we will always recommend dental floss. If you have difficulty flossing due to arthritis or you feel that your hands are too big to reach the back teeth, we still recommend that you use regular floss wherever you can; for areas that you can’t reach well such as the back teeth, you can use some type of flosser.

The C-Shaped Technique

With this method, you’re wrapping the floss and curving it around the tooth when you go below the gum. Almost everyone has curvy teeth below the gumline so if you’re going straight up and down with that piece of floss the following may occur:

  1. You might damage or cut your gum as you might hit the tip of that little triangular piece of gum.
  2. You’re not going to curve into the side of the tooth where the plaque and bacteria usually collect.

Bleeding When Flossing

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss you may have gingivitis or gum disease, which is more serious and should be brought to the attention of your dentist. If you would like a demonstration on proper flossing techniques, book an appointment today!

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