Your dentist has been telling you for years that flossing regularly can improve your dental health and offer big benefits like reducing the plaque and bacteria that cause bad breath. It can also prevent gum disease and help keep your heart healthy!

Despite these facts, few people keep up with the habit. And, if you’re still reading, you likely aren’t one of them.

Are you finally ready to follow your dentist’s advice and give flossing a try? If so, you’ll need to know how to floss properly. Keep reading for flossing tips on everything from technique to which floss is best.

When to Floss

When to Floss

The American Dental Association suggests that you floss at least once a day, whenever it’s most convenient for you. But, you may want to clean between your teeth more frequently, especially after meals.

It doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing, so long as you do a thorough job during both steps.

Which Floss to Use

Which Floss to Use

The right floss for you will depend on your oral health and factors like how much space you have between your teeth and whether you have dental hardware like braces or bridges.

Standard dental floss is a thin, nylon strand that can easily pass between teeth. You can choose between flavored or unflavored and waxed or unwaxed. If your teeth are crowded or close together, floss with a wax coating may make flossing easier.

Dental tape is similar to dental floss in texture, but it’s wide and flat like a ribbon. This makes it easier to use if you have braces, gaps, or large spaces in between your teeth.

Super flosses are threaded tools that can work with braces, bridges, and gaps. They have three different working parts – a stiff end for flossing under hardware, spongy floss for cleaning around it, and standard floss for eliminating plaque below your gumline.

Electric and water flossers can also make a positive impact, especially if you have braces or other dental hardware or just struggle with flossing.

How to Floss Properly

How to Floss Properly

Start by breaking off about 20 inches of floss. Then, wrap most of it around your index or middle fingers, leaving an inch or two of space between the two.

Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers, and gently place it between two teeth. Then, glide the floss up and down, running it along both sides of each tooth.

Avoid pushing the floss down into your gums, as it can cause scratching and bruising. Instead, at the base of each tooth, you should curve the floss down and in, forming a C shape. This allows the floss to pass between your tooth and gums, removing plaque and bacteria beneath the surface.

Repeat these steps on each tooth, using a new, clean section of floss for each one.

Keep in mind, even with proper daily brushing and flossing, you’ll still need regular cleanings performed by a dental expert like Dr. Sandler.

Flash Those Pearly Whites

Our number one piece of flossing advice? Now that you know how to floss properly, you’ve got to get serious about working the habit into your daily routine.

In the beginning, you might need to remind yourself with an alarm or other everyday signal. But after a while, it’ll just feel like a normal part of your day.

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