4 Flossing Tips To Improve Your Smile

Dental_HealthIt’s not surprising to hear that flossing one’s teeth is as essential to dental health as brushing them, especially if you visit the dentist for regular checkups. What you may not have heard is just how crucial flossing is for maintaining your dental health and overall wellbeing. Flossing forms a first line of defense against periodontal (gum) disease that left untreated can lead to tooth loss, bone loss and aggravate conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Since surveys show many persons struggle to floss regularly, a little bit of advice on how to form this vital habit can’t hurt. Here are a few tips to promote daily flossing.

How to Make Flossing a Dental Health Habit

  1. Commit to flossing at least once a day. Ideally, we should floss after every meal. But flossing once a day makes a big difference. If you can, make that one time right before bed, since saliva flow slows in our sleep, leaving our teeth vulnerable to bacterial plaque.
  2. Create habit “triggers” to make regular flossing a snap. Connecting floss usage to another part of your dental routine makes this new behavior more automatic. It can also help to create visual cues for your self as well, such as placing your floss right next to your toothbrush.
  3. Discover a flossing method you enjoy using. You can try waxed or unwaxed floss, ribbon or fine width floss, flavored floss … Or even purchase a water flosser if that’s more comfortable. The key is to make the experience of flossing one you look forward to.
  4. Learn how to floss correctly! To floss correctly, break off a piece of floss that is about 18 inches long. Wrap most of the floss around either the middle finger or the index finger of one hand, and a small amount onto the middle or index finger of the other hand. Slide the floss gently between teeth in a zigzag motion. Make a C shape with the floss as you wrap it around each tooth. Then carefully pull the floss upward from the gum line to the top of the tooth. As you move from one tooth to the next, unroll a fresh section of floss from the finger of one hand while rolling the used floss onto the finger of the other hand.

“Most patients we see intend to floss daily, but need a bit of guidance to embed that habit,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a Phoenix-based cosmetic dentist. “Expending a small amount of effort to get this habit started can pay huge dividends later on in terms of your dental health.”

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