The everyday teeth flossing is absolutely important to maintain a proper oral hygiene, as not only will this prevent the formation of tartar or the dreaded bad breath, but it will also protect your gums in the long run. Besides this, flossing can lower the risk for certain conditions, as various studies have revealed a strong connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, the latter being one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to floss your teeth properly, in just four easy steps!
Step 1: Wind the floss around your middle fingers
The first thing you need to do is to get around 10-15 inches of floss, regardless of brand, and to wrap it around each of your middle fingers. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers leaving 1-2 inches in between.
You can use your thumbs to direct the floss between the upper teeth and the index fingers to direct the floss between the bottom teeth.
Step 2: Start flossing in a sawing-like motion
Now that you have prepared the dental floss, the second step is to gently floss between all of your teeth using a sawing-like motion. The floss must be slowly pulled in a V-shape, and you must apply the right amount of pressure, just to be sure all the food particles are removed from between your teeth. Try to bend the floss towards the front and back teeth in order to clean both tooth surfaces and not only the periodontal pocket.
Never try to violently floss your teeth if the contacts are too tight and you cannot manage to get the dental floss through. Do not snap the floss because you can harm your gums and cause swelling for a few days. It is common for some people’s gums to bleed a bit during the process, especially if they have sensitive gums or incipient periodontal disease. Do not panic if this happens!
Step 3: Gradually unroll some clean floss
After cleaning one tooth, you must unroll clean floss with your fingers as you move on to the other ones.
It is highly recommended to floss carefully below the gum line, as this is where the plaque forms and you cannot reach that tooth surface with a toothbrush. Correct flossing involves cleaning the entire surface of your teeth, not just the spaces between them. While the food particles that get stuck between the teeth are responsible for bad breath, the plaque that sticks to your teeth is equally dangerous – this is how tartar build-up occurs.
Step 4: Rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash
Once you are done flossing, it is essential to thoroughly rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash, as this will help you remove all the food particles you have just dislodged. Most mouthwashes contain ingredients that decrease the plaque attachment to the tooth surface.