Dental Flossing Why and How
A dental floss is a thread mostly made of plastic ribbon or nylon filaments whose main purpose is to remove any food or plaque that gets lodged in between teeth.
The main caretaker of teeth is considered the toothbrush. However, toothbrushes are quite limited because they cannot reach the area in the gaps between the teeth, which, unfortunately, are common areas where food can easily get stuck and where bacteria can easily grow.
This could lead to cavities, tooth decay, and to expensive dental treatments.
Flossing is widely recommended by dentists worldwide, although it is not being used as dentists hope. In America, it is known that around only 50% of people actually floss to complete their oral hygiene care.
Thus, dentists continually advertise the use of floss to their patients due to its many dental benefits and some benefits to overall health.
But a lot of people have several misconceptions about flossing, so here’s some information on how to properly floss so you can enjoy its many benefits.
How to Use
Factors to consider when using a dental floss:
- Dental Floss: Quality over Quantity
- The Right Time to Use Dental Floss
- How Long Should You Floss?
- Flossing, Brushing, or Using a Mouthwash
1. Dental Floss: Quality over Quantity
Flossing is not based on the number of times you floss per day; what’s more important is how effectively you floss.
Some patients may floss their teeth after every brushing, which translates usually to 3 times a day. But even so, they may not harness the full benefits of flossing if they do it wrong.
Flossing requires a particular technique, which begins with cutting just the right length of floss, which should ideally be around 18 inches.
When you wound the floss around your fingers, there should be at least 2 inches in between. Then, you should use your thumb and index finger to direct the floss in between your teeth and start flossing. Flossing is not just running the floss in between the teeth in any direction.
Use a zig zag motion and follow the shape of your tooth. You are not just dislodging debris stuck between teeth; you need to get rid of plaque that sticks to the tooth surface itself.
2. The Right Time to Use Dental Floss
Flossing is not a quick fix, so it should not be quick. You have to insert it into your daily routine, so you have to pick a time in your schedule when you can really floss as thoroughly as possible. You don’t even have to use the dental floss three times a day. One thorough cleaning will do, and one done with enough time will be even better.
Most dentists recommend flossing before going to bed. It is important to make sure that your mouth is spic and span before you sleep because during sleep, the saliva in the mouth, which fights against the effects of bacteria, lessens, giving the bacteria free rein on your mouth and teeth.
3. How Long Should You Floss?
As already mentioned, it does not matter how many times you floss. The more important thing is how much time you spend on it. But exactly how much time should that be?
There are no set rules as to how long you should use the dental floss. For each individual, the length of time may vary depending on several factors.
For example, the dexterity of your fingers can assist you in flossing more adeptly and more thoroughly in less time. For newbies, flossing may have to take longer as you still try to practice the strokes of flossing. In time, the length of time you spend on flossing will eventually shorten.
Just keep in mind that the more important thing is how thoroughly you work on removing plaque and debris from your teeth.
4. Flossing, Brushing, or Using a Mouthwash
There are three known basic dental care tools: the toothbrush, the floss, and the mouthwash, the last two of which are deemed optional. Flossing is more effective than the mouthwash as it really gets in between your teeth and actually removes food particles and plaque left. Using a mouthwash is not as thorough; despite being antibacterial agents, mouthwashes are not as effective as the dental floss.
Benefits of Dental Flossing
Flossing gives you access to a host of benefits starting with great oral hygiene, with teeth strong, clean, free from plaque, and not vulnerable to bacteria caused by food debris.
Flossing can also improve your breath and protect you from gum disease. In the process, dental floss can polish the surface of your teeth making it look whiter and cleaner.
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