Flossing your teeth is important, but why do it if you aren't flossing correctly? Here are a few simple steps to making sure your teeth are getting the most out of their daily cleaning session.
- Start with the correct type of floss. If your teeth have close contact points that cause frequent tearing, you may want to go for single filament floss. However, since PTFE floss is more expensive, nylon is a better choice for anyone whose teeth aren't shredding the floss at every occasion. Nylon floss comes waxed or unwaxed, and either variety works effectively if used properly. Floss with fluoride is a good idea, but not necessary to receive great benefits from a flossing routine.
- Always floss before brushing your teeth, as floss will loosen plaque that you won't want rolling around in your mouth. (Seriously. Ew.)
- Typically, about 18 inches of floss will take care of your whole mouth. Measure out about an arm's length and wrap the ends around your middle fingers. Leave out 1 to 2 inches and hold the section with your thumbs and forefingers.
- Start with the back molars on one side and work your way all the way around. Glide the floss gently back and forth between your teeth. Make sure that you get all the way up to your gums and go a little under the gum line on both sides. (The "gentle" part is key. Don't snap your floss up between your teeth. It's traumatic for your gums.)
- Angle the floss around the tooth so that it kind of hugs it. This will help you to make sure you get both sides of the tooth and both gum lines (as long as you hug both teeth equally. Don't be stingy hugging your teeth. Love your teeth.)
- Work around your teeth, unwinding and rewinding the floss so that you have a new, clean section to use for each tooth.
- Always finish by brushing your teeth and rinsing out your mouth with water or mouth wash. (See above, the section about plaque rolling around in your mouth.)