Brushing your teeth twice a day is crucial to keeping your mouth healthy, but you should not skip flossing. Dentists recommend flossing daily to remove plaque that develops throughout the day from between your teeth and is missed with brushing alone. If left untreated, plaque can eat away tooth enamel and infect your gums, causing tooth decay and gum disease. Make sure you are flossing correctly with these tips from Dr. Ed Lazer, a dentist in Owings Mills, MD.
Hold floss properly
The best way to ensure an accurate and thorough cleaning with floss is to hold the string so that you can maneuver it with ease. Dentists recommend using about 18 inches of floss for each use. You should wrap each end of the floss around the middle finger of each hand to provide a solid foundation. Then, you can use your index finger and thumb from each hand to hold the string so that there is about an inch of floss that can be used to clean between your teeth. As you floss, you can pull the string that is wrapped around your middle fingers for a clean section of floss after the previous bit is used.
Pay attention to positioning
Once you have the floss secured in your hands, you can gently insert the floss between your teeth. To get a thorough cleaning, you should press the floss tightly against the tooth and rub the floss up and down to remove trapped plaque. This should be done for all of your teeth on both the top and bottom arches. You should be gentle during this process because rough flossing techniques may cause your gums to bleed. Bleeding gums may also be a sign of gum disease so make sure you are getting regular dental exams to check for oral health concerns.
Explore other flossing tools
Traditional flossing is effective for cleaning between teeth. However, for some dental patients, string floss may not be the ideal method. Floss picks, in which a string of floss is attached to a plastic handle, can be useful for patients with braces where the space between teeth is difficult to access. A water pick uses an irrigator to create a stream of water that sprays and washes hard-to-reach spots of your mouth. This appliance can be expensive and messy but may provide a more efficient cleaning technique for patients with prosthetic teeth or oral apparatuses. Your dentist can provide more details about flossing in relation to your unique dental needs.
Find a dentist in Owings Mills, MD
Dr. Lazer is a dentist in Owings Mills, MD offering general and preventative dental care. Our practice also specializes in restorative, implant, and cosmetic dentistry. To schedule an appointment with us, contact our office online or reach us by phone at 410.697.6290.