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6 Secrets to Better Flossing

August 3, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — drwehrkamp @ 3:40 pm

flossing woman

Most of us don’t floss nearly as much as we should. Maybe we don’t think we have time for it, maybe it hurts our gums, or maybe we just don’t feel like it. However, using dental floss every day is so crucial to your oral health that there’s no excuse not to do it. It’s really simple to get into the habit, especially if you follow these 6 steps from a dentist to make the most out of flossing.

1. Find the Right Floss for You

It might seem like the standard container of floss is all the world has to offer, but there are actually several different kinds out there. If you have teeth that are very close together and have a hard time fitting standard floss in between them, try a fine floss. If you want your mouth to feel extra clean, you can get flavored floss for a minty aftertaste. If you have trouble reaching between your back teeth, try a floss pick to get some extra distance. No matter what your needs are, there’s a type of floss out there for you.

2. Try a Water Pick

Maybe regular floss simply doesn’t cut it for you. If so, water flossing, also known as water picking, offers a great alternative. It uses a handheld device that flushes water in between the teeth to remove food debris and plaque. It’s important to note, however, that water flossing doesn’t remove 100 percent of plaque, so your best bet is to combine water picking with regular flossing.

3. Perfect Your Technique

Flossing is only productive if you do it the right way. Follow these steps for more effective flossing:

  • Break off about 18 inches of floss.
  • Wrap most of it around your middle fingers, leaving a couple inches in between to work with.
  • Hold the floss tightly between the index fingers and thumbs of each hand.
  • Gently rub the floss between the teeth.
  • NEVER snap it against your gums.
  • Gingerly rub the side of the tooth in an up and down motion.
  • Make sure to get between all of your teeth and behind your last molars.

4. Set Reminders

Lots of people claim they don’t floss because they can’t remember. You can combat this by simply setting a reminder on your phone. Since flossing is generally more beneficial in the evening rather than in the morning, try setting your floss on your pillow. That way you can’t miss it before you go to bed.

5. Get That Clean Mouth Feeling

Flossing may be uncomfortable at first as your gums get used to the feeling. Once you get accustomed to it, though, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without flossing. If you don’t do it for one day, your mouth will start to feel a lot less clean.

6. Track Your Progress

Write on your calendar every day you floss. At your next checkup, ask your dentist if you have less plaque buildup than usual. They will likely say yes, so you can really see the results of your new habit.

While flossing might be no one’s favorite activity, it’s an important habit to get into. Hopefully these 6 secrets will help you get started.

About the Author

Dr. Scott Wehrkamp has been in private practice for nearly 40 years, since he graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Dentistry. He has achieved Fellowship status with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and Accredited status with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. To ask him for more advice on flossing, contact him on his website or by calling (605) 582-6522.

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