How to Know if You are Flossing CorrectlyMay 04 2018

By now, everyone should be on board with the importance of flossing between your teeth.  I mean, how else are you going to get to those hard-to-reach-places in your mouth, like between your teeth, or even behind your back molars?  Flossing is pretty much the only way to physically remove the bacteria from the places that are easily the dirtiest parts of your mouth.

While your dentist can show you how to floss correctly, the following guidelines will tell you if you are flossing correctly now:

Not Bleeding While Flossing

If you are seeing red when you are flossing, then you are probably not flossing regularly enough.  Most dentists recommend flossing at least once per day, usually at night before bed.  That way, you can remove food particles that may have become trapped during eating or snacking throughout the day.  If it has been a while since you have flossed, expect your gums to bleed a little for the first couple of days after you start up again.  However, if you are regular in your flossing and you are still seeing blood in the sink, see your dentist right away, as this can be a sign of something more serious, like gum disease.

Of course, when you so floss, you do not want to be too rough.  Also, make sure that you are not just moving the floss up and down between your teeth.  Using the floss to clean the sides of your teeth will require you to insert the floss into the same space two times, once for one tooth, and again for the other tooth.  The floss should disappear partially under the gum line in order to be really thorough.

Using Enough Floss

Ideally, 15-18 inches of floss is needed for each flossing session.  This is because you need to move the floss to a clean spot every time.  Otherwise, you would be defeating the purpose.  You wouldn't clean your windows with a dirty rag, would you?  For that reason, flossing picks and tools are not recommended and should only be used for lack of something better or out of temporary convenience.

Time Spent Flossing

Maintaining proper oral care takes time.  You should not expect to be able to hurry through and do a proper cleaning.  If you are spending less than five minutes on flossing all of the in-between surfaces of your teeth, then you may need to rethink your priorities.  Once you establish a routine, you may be able to cut it down a minute or two.  But our advice is to find other areas of your life to skimp on time if you are really having a hard time fitting it in.

Flossing Before Brushing

The order that you carry out your oral hygiene tasks really does make a difference.  Flossing before brushing will allow you to brush away the loosened plaque that you would otherwise not be able to access.  Also, you don't want to leave plaque on your teeth between brushing.

One more thing you can do to cut down on the bacteria in your mouth is to use mouthwash in conjunction with your floss.  Dipping the length of floss into mouthwash allows the anti-bacterial solution to be applied to those in-between places.

So make sure you are flossing once a day and that you are doing it right.  Your teeth and gums will only benefit from the extra care you show them.  You can feel good about doing your best to keep your teeth as clean as you can between dental visits.

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