What’s all the Fuss about Flossing?

A smiling happy couple

At Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Spokane, we believe that flossing is vital for proper oral care. While brushing twice daily is essential, it won’t reach all the areas that need cleaning. Preventing oral complications before they arise is the best way to avoid costly oral procedures down the road. While it is not the only step necessary for proper oral care, flossing is necessary for a healthy smile.

Flossing helps remove the debris that your toothbrush can’t reach. If you don’t floss, plaque can build up between your teeth and below the gumline. This plaque buildup leads to tooth decay and gum disease.

Gum disease is a serious infection that threatens the health of your smile. Over time, gum disease will lead to difficulty in chewing, bleeding gums, and loose teeth. If left untreated, it can eventually cause you to lose your teeth. Research links gum disease to heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and premature births. Flossing is an easy way to prevent so many complications, but it’s surprising to discover how few people actually do it on a daily basis.

The American Dental Association found that only 40% of Americans floss at least once a day and 20% don’t floss at all. If you’re ready to start flossing regularly, here are some important tips for choosing and using the floss that best meets your needs.

Types of Floss

There are two main types of floss, nylon floss, and PTFE floss. Although both are great choices for keeping your smile healthy, there are some key features that distinguish the two. If you would like to learn more about good oral care or would like to schedule your next cleaning, call Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today.

Nylon Floss

Nylon (multifilament) floss is made up of many nylon strands and is available in both the waxed and unwaxed variety. Waxed floss glides between the teeth and is less prone to snapping than unwaxed floss. It’s also softer on the gums. Although unwaxed floss is more likely to snap, it can be better at getting in between teeth that are crowded.

PTFE Floss

Also known as dental tape, PTFE floss is made from Polytetrafluoroethylene. Patients with wide enough gaps between their teeth may find this floss to be ideal. Although it can be more expensive than nylon floss, it is much less likely to snap and tear when you’re flossing. Many patients who choose PTFE floss say it feels more comfortable than nylon floss.

No one type of floss will work best for everyone. Both nylon and PTFE floss have their strengths and are great options depending on what you need and prefer.

Flossing Technique

Once you have your chosen floss, it is important to practice proper flossing technique to maximize the benefit of your teeth and gums. Here are some tips you can use to become a flossing expert.

Wash your hands

It’s important to always wash your hands before flossing. You will be sticking your fingers in your mouth, and washing your hands is an easy preventative measure to avoid exposing yourself to unnecessary germs.

Proper Length

It is recommended to use about 18 inches of floss. The goal should be to have about two inches of floss between your hands held by your index fingers and thumbs. The other 16 inches or so should be wrapped around the middle or index fingers on each hand. Using this technique will give you the leverage to manipulate the floss more easily and make it easier to use a clean section of floss as you work your way around your mouth.

Be Thorough and Gentle

When flossing, make sure not to skip any of your teeth. In addition to being thorough, it is also important to be gentle. Do not force the floss between teeth which could bruise or damage your gums. When you floss each tooth, make sure to floss below the gumline and to use a clean section of the floss between all teeth.

Schedule Your Appointment

At Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we understand that maintaining good oral care habits can be difficult. We care about your health and want to make it easier for you to maintain proper oral care. Dr. López is committed to working with patients to provide them with the quality care they deserve. We encourage you to click through our website to discover all the ways we can get you on the road to your perfect smile. Schedule your next visit today.