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A Complete Guide to Flossing Teeth

December 6, 2023
A Complete Guide

Do you floss your teeth? Most people brush their teeth at least every day, but not everyone flosses as frequently as they should, if at all. Flossing can seem tricky if you haven’t done it before. It may even seem like an inconvenience. But it is one of the most important parts of a good oral hygiene routine. Here’s what you need to know to start flossing effectively and make it a regular habit to improve your oral health and wellness. 

Why Flossing is Important 

It is important to floss in order to remove plaque from the spaces between your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film made of food residue and bacteria that clings to the teeth. When it is not removed it can eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities. One of the most common places where cavities form is between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. It is also important to get the floss down into the pockets between your teeth and gums to remove plaque that tends to settle there in order to prevent gum disease. 

How Often Should You Floss? 

You should floss your teeth at least once a day, making sure to get between each tooth. If you feel that you have a piece of food stuck between your teeth, it is ok to floss again to remove it, even if you already flossed that day. You can floss in the morning or at night, whichever works best for your schedule. 

Types of Floss 

There are a few different types of floss: 

  • String floss. String floss is the most basic type of floss available. It comes in a plastic dispenser. 
  • Waxed floss. Waxed floss is reinforced with a layer of wax to help prevent tearing and to make the floss wider to reach larger spaces. 
  • Superfloss. Superfloss is wider, spongy floss that allows you to more effectively remove plaque from large spaces between teeth. It also has a reinforced end to thread under braces and dental prosthetics. 
  • Plackers. A placker is basically floss on a stick, making it easier to floss without having to wrap the floss around your fingers. 
  • Water flosser. A water flosser includes a wand that sprays pressurized water between your teeth and under dental prosthetics to remove plaque. 

Flossing With Orthodontics

To floss with braces you can use superfloss to thread under the archwire. Your orthodontist may also give you a flossing needle to help you thread regular floss under your archwire. They also make plackers with narrow heads to get under braces. 

Flossing With Dental Work 

In order to floss when you have dental prosthetics, you may need to use superfloss or a water flosser to reach difficult spots. Smaller round brushes can also be used to clean around dental work. 

Tips to Establish a Habit of Flossing 

The following tips can help you establish a habit of flossing: 

  • Leave floss out on the counter in plain view. 
  • Always floss before you brush. 
  • Set an alarm on your phone. 
  • Leave yourself a note. 
  • Remind yourself of the benefits. 

Maintain Your Oral Health With Help From College Street Smiles

At College Street Smiles we want to help you maintain your oral health because we understand the impact it has on your overall health and wellness. Good oral health reduces your risk of diabetes, respiratory diseases, cancer, osteoporosis, and heart disease. 

Call 615-446-7878 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Flossing 

I’ve never flossed before, why should I start now?

Just because you have skipped flossing in the past and have not experienced any oral health issues doesn't mean you will always be so lucky. As you age your teeth begin to deteriorate and are not as resistant to cavities. It’s never too late to start flossing and reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. 

At what age should children start flossing?

Children should start flossing as soon as their teeth are close together. Once the toothbrush can’t reach between them, flossing becomes important. It can be easier for children to use plackers when they first start flossing until their fine motor skills develop more thoroughly. 

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