If you ask any dentist, they will tell you flossing is an essential part of at-home oral care. While you may be diligent with brushing and may even use mouthwash to remove extra bacteria from the tongue and cheeks, there are a lot of areas neither your toothbrush or mouthwash can clean.
Specifically, the areas between your teeth. Luckily, that’s what flossing is for!
Flossing is a method of oral hygiene in which you use special dental floss (string, tape) to clean the areas in between your teeth. Food particles and bacteria can accumulate in these areas and cause damage down the line, such as tartar buildup or an increase in the risk of tooth decay.
While a good brushing technique or electric toothbrush can remove some of the particles from between the teeth, other areas are harder to reach. This is why flossing is considered a necessity, and an important part of your oral hygiene.
Hold your floss of choice between your thumbs and index fingers, and gently slide it between your teeth. You can move the floss up and down to remove food and bacteria, and remember to touch on both sides for a thorough cleaning, and don’t be afraid to reach the gums.
Repeat this motion in between all your teeth, and brush or rinse your mouth at the end.
The golden rule is to floss every time you brush your teeth, which should be at least two times a day. Dentists recommend flossing before you brush your teeth, so you can remove all food particles from your mouth and rinse them down the drain along with the toothpaste.
You should consider flossing as an integral part of your oral hygiene, not simply an addition to it. If you make a habit out of flossing, you will end up taking great care of your teeth long-term!
Bleeding when you floss for the first time can be perfectly normal, as your gums are not used to this activity. Bleeding is usually very mild, however, and goes away in a few days. As counterproductive as it may seem, continuing to floss daily is the best thing you can do for the health of your gums.
But if you notice more profuse bleeding, you should see a dentist right away. Bleeding gums may be a sign of tartar building or even gum disease, and getting early treatment is the best way to help your gums and teeth recover.
Looking for more dental health services and recommendations? Forest Lake Smiles is here to help you improve your oral health with expert dental services and great at-home care tips!
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Jonathan Siverson today to get started.