Flossing 101: Tip, Tricks, and Tools to Use

Flossing can be tedious, uncomfortable, and time-consuming.  No wonder many people don’t floss as often as they should.  Maybe you don’t know exactly how to floss, when, or what tools to use.  Our dentist in Newport Beach can show you some great tips and tricks during your next visit.

Why Should You Be Flossing?

No toothbrush or brushing technique is capable of removing plaque from between your teeth as well as flossing can.  If food particles are left behind, they turn into cavities and even lead to gum disease.

When it comes to decay between teeth, you’re not just looking at needing one filling to repair the problem.  You’ll likely require two restorations because the teeth beside each other are usually both affected by forgotten plaque that turned into a cavity.

The bacteria that comes from food particles that sit on your gums cause swelling, bleeding, infection, and pain. In advanced stages of gum disease, you’ll have teeth that are loose because the roots don’t have a solid foundation of jaw bone to hold them in place. Once it’s gone, there’s no way to restore your bone.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.

Flossing on a regular basis will help keep your teeth and gums healthy, preventing cavities and gum disease from forming.

flossing newport beachWhen to Floss

Flossing should be done at least once a day.  Plain and simple.  No excuses about it. It’s best to floss at the end of your day because this way, all of the plaque that was accumulated throughout the day can be removed.

Flossing before you brush your teeth will loosen the food particles, and make it easier for the plaque to be flushed away. It’s also recommended to go back over each area with floss after you’ve brushed, to ensure that everything is clean.

Now that you understand the importance of flossing and when to do it, let’s go over some tips, tricks, and how to floss with special tools that can help make the task less of a hassle.

Traditional Flossing

Traditional flossing string has been around for centuries, so there’s no surprise in knowing that, when used properly, it works great for removing plaque between teeth.

To get started with this technique, break off about 18 inches of string and wind up all but a few inches of it around the middle fingers of each hand. Use your thumbs and pointer fingers to hold the floss taut, and gently guide it between each tooth.  Being too rough can cut your gums, so be careful.

Rub the string against the sides of each tooth. At the gum line, curve the floss so that it hugs the side of each tooth and move it around to remove the plaque.

When you’re done between each tooth, gently slide the floss back out. If you have dental restorations like crowns or fillings, it’s good practice to pull the string out at the gum line rather than putting outward pressure on the dental work that might catch on any margins, causing it to shred.

Floss Threaders/Threader Floss

If you have dental bridges, braces, a lingual wire, a bar with implants, or teeth that are too tight, then you’ll probably need to incorporate the use of floss threaders into your routine.

The concept with floss threaders is like a needle and thread.  The threader is a nylon loop connected with a rigid, yet flexible point.  To use this tool, you take traditional flossing string and thread it through the loop.  Then you take the threader’s point and push it between your teeth at the gumline.  Clean the area as you normally would, and once you’re done simply pull the floss through to release it.

Threader floss may be easier to learn how to floss with.  This tool is a precut piece of floss that has a thick threader tip built in, eliminating the need to floss the thread through a loop.

Water and Air Flossers

Welcome the new generation of flossing with the use of a water or air flosser. These handheld devices are great for everyone but are especially helpful for those that have dental work that would normally require you to use a floss threader.

They’re also a great alternative for people who struggle to maneuver floss around their teeth.   Water and air flossers make the job of removing interproximal plaque fast and easy.

water-flossingAll you do is simply aim the nozzle between each pair of teeth and press a button.  Instantly a burst of air, or water, depending on which device you have, is released, eliminating the plaque. In fact, there are some studies that show water flossers can clean deeper under your gums than what’s possible with traditional floss.

Visiting the Dentist In Newport Beach

The next time you visit Dr. Yazdan, our dentist in Newport Beach, wouldn’t it feel great being able to tell her that you’ve been flossing every day? You’ll be so proud of yourself and you’ll pass your dental exam with flying colors. For more tips and tricks on how to floss visit The Center For Restorative & Cosmetic Dentistry today!

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