Lots of people think that flossing once per day is enough to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease. However, how you floss matters just as much as how often you floss. At Trillium Dental, our dentists and dental hygienists want to make sure that our patients are prioritizing their gum health, and we’re here to teach you how to floss correctly.
FLOSS BEFORE YOU BRUSH
As family dentists, we often get asked whether it’s better to floss before or after you brush your teeth. While there is no set rule, our dentists recommend flossing before you brush your teeth. This allows you to remove any food particles that have gotten lodged between your teeth before you brush, in addition to any plaque buildup between the teeth and along the gum line. Then, when you brush your teeth, the toothpaste can find its way into these crevices more easily, helping to remove any remaining plaque and bacteria.
FLOSS FROM SIDE TO SIDE, NOT UP AND DOWN
Often, people think of flossing as a quick up-and-down movement, when in reality, they should be flossing with a side-to-side motion as they slide the floss between their teeth. In order to effectively get rid of the food particles and bacteria wedged between your teeth, you’ll need to work the floss around the base of each tooth. To start, gently move the floss back and forth to slide it between two teeth, then use a side-to-side motion to work the floss around the gumline. Then, move the floss back up using the same side-to-side motion, leaving the space clear of food and plaque.
USE CLEAN SECTIONS OF FLOSS
It’s important to start with a fresh section of floss when you move between the teeth so you aren’t shoving more food and plaque in each crevice. An easy way to do this is by wrapping the floss around one finger on each hand, then unraveling new sections as you floss. You’ll likely end up using a foot or more of floss to do a thorough job, so there’s no need to skimp!
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF FLOSS
There are many types of floss to choose from these days, including unwaxed floss, woven floss, shred-resistant floss, and electric flossers. All of these options work just fine; however, they all come with pros and cons. Unwaxed and woven floss are great at removing plaque, but they are more prone to tearing than shred-resistant floss. Electric flossers are by far the most effective at removing plaque, and they’re more fun to use, making it easier for you to make flossing part of your daily oral hygiene routine. If you’re the type of person that always forgets to floss, or your gums bleed when you do, you might want to consider an electric flosser (like a water flosser) so flossing isn’t as much of a chore.
BOOK YOUR NEXT TEETH CLEANING WITH TRILLIUM DENTAL
At Trillium Dental, we believe that proper flossing is one of the best ways to avoid developing symptoms of gum disease. If you have swollen gums, or your gums bleed when you floss, this may be a sign of gingivitis. But don’t worry — we can help! Schedule an appointment at one of our Ottawa dental clinics today to have your teeth professionally cleaned. Our dentists would be happy to discuss our gum disease treatments with you.