Rules for Flossing

Flossing is the number one thing patients say they forget to do when it comes to their dental hygiene plan. That’s unfortunate because it’s also one of the most important.  Flossing helps remove bacteria missed by brushing, which prevents gum disease and the loss of teeth.

If you’ll follow these simple rules for flossing, you can start preventing cavities today:

  • Floss once a day.
    • Morning, noon, or night, it doesn’t matter when you do it, just that you do it at least once per day. (Of course, more is always better.)
  • Floss for all ages.
    • If you have teeth, floss them.  A patient asked once, “Do I really need to floss between all of my teeth?” The answer is simple: “Only the ones you want to keep.”  It’s important to get kids started on the right track early with an oral hygiene plan.  Just like brushing regularly and putting your socks away, it’s so much easier to perform routine tasks as an adult if you formed that habit in your earlier years.  You may not think it’s important for baby teeth since they eventually fall out anyway, but bacteria grows in between teeth and can cause sore gums and gum disease.
  • Proper Flossing Technique is key.
    • If you’re taking the time to floss anyway, you might as well do it right. Right?  Simply flossing down to your gum and right back up won’t cut it.  You need to use a “hugging” motion— up and down, between and around every tooth—to reach all those places your toothbrush can’t.
  • Blood isn’t necessarily bad.
    • Occasionally when you floss (especially if it’s been a while) your gums may bleed.  While you do want to pay close attention to this, bleeding gums don’t necessarily mean you should stop.  Often, gums that bleed regularly or easily are an indication of a more serious problem like gum disease or gingivitis.
  • Use what works.
    • When selecting floss at the store, pick the one you’re most likely to use.  If you haven’t looked in a while, you’ll be pleased to discover that you have lots of options.  In addition to traditional floss that comes on a roll, you’ll see floss holders, ingenious devices with a “handle” like a toothbrush. These may be easier for you to use—especially for kids.  You’ll also find individual flossers, small contraptions that look like toothpicks and can fit between your teeth.  You’ll even see different flavors, sizes, and shapes of dental floss.  Keep experimenting until you find something you like that works for you. And then stick with it.

Flossing can be time consuming, but it is well worth your time. It can save you thousands of dollars in dental work for only three minutes a day of cleaning between your teeth. Always remember to floss! If you have questions do not hesitate to call (512) 992-2822 or email us today.

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