We’ve talked about the importance of flossing before, and we’ll do it again and again until the whole world knows it: Flossing is essential for reducing the risk of cavities, gum disease, and even heart disease. It’s also an important strategy for helping your teeth look and feel healthy and for keeping bad breath at bay.
For these reasons, it’s important to ensure that you’re flossing correctly so you can get the most oral health bang for your flossing buck. Here are five simple ways to improve your flossing routine.
Choose a quality floss.
The best floss for you is the one you’re most likely to use—but there are some guidelines that can help you determine the right floss based on the distance between your teeth, the dexterity in your hands, and so on. Check out our guide to choosing a new floss for specifics. Above all else? Remember to look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval.
Floss every night.
Technically, the most important thing is to floss once every 24 hours. If you find that your schedule makes it easier to floss in the morning than at night, then by all means floss when you’re able. But if you have the ability to floss before bed, you may be doing your oral health a favor. That’s because removing food particles and other debris just before bed deprives harmful bacteria of one of their favorite food sources so they’re less able to do damage to your oral health overnight.
Floss after brushing.
This is a topic of much debate, and ultimately the same precept outlined above holds true here: No matter whether you floss before or after brushing, the most important thing is that you do it. That being said, there’s some evidence that flossing after brushing is ideal, because the floss will pick up leftover debris that the toothbrush might miss.
Rub, don’t saw.
One of the most common flossing mistakes involves sliding the floss between two teeth and then aggressively “sawing” up and down or back and forth on the gums. Not only is this harmful to the gums, but it also fails to address food particles and other debris that may be caught on the sides of the teeth. To floss more properly, follow these steps:
·Gently slide the floss between the teeth
·Wrap the floss into “C” shape around the base of one of the teeth
·While maintaining the “C” shape, slide the floss from the base of the tooth up to its tip. Repeat this process two or three times
·Repeat this whole process on the other tooth
Don’t reuse floss.
We’re all for being green, but floss is one thing you’re better off throwing away rather than reusing. That’s because reusing floss re-introduces the bacteria and debris that the floss removed in the first place. Not only should you use a new strip of floss every time you floss, but you should also use a new section of the length of floss as you work your way through your mouth during each flossing session.
When you implement these five strategies, you’ll ensure that your flossing routine is truly effective. And that will give you better odds of enjoying stellar oral health for years to come.