Floss – what’s the big deal about it?

“Floss once a day” is something we’ve all been told by our dentists. But do we really know why we should floss? And are we flossing effectively? Here at Skye Dental we too recommend flossing once a day and we want to help all our wonderful patients understand why. 

Why should I floss?

Flossing helps to remove plaque from your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed it can become tartar which is hard and much more difficult to remove. Brushing alone does not remove all the plaque on your teeth, especially in the hard to reach areas in between each tooth and its neighbour. Flossing daily helps prevent the buildup of plaque, making your mouth look and feel cleaner and brighter. 

Flossing also has benefits not just for your teeth directly, it provides you with an opportunity to have a good look at your mouth, looking for lumps or bumps that weren’t there previously, any cuts, cold sores, or areas of injury from biting your cheek or tongue. If you notice anything that causes you concern, call Skye Dental on 3823 1896 and book in for an appointment with one of our experienced dentists. 

When should I floss?

Understanding why flossing is important is invaluable to starting a good flossing routine. At Skye Dental we recommend flossing at least once a day, at a time that works best for you. We do recommend flossing before brushing your teeth as it dislodges food and plaque which the toothbrush can then remove. 

How to floss effectively:

Good technique is key to getting the best results from flossing. We encourage you to follow these steps:

  1. Take a piece of floss about 30 cm long
  2. Wind each end around your middle fingers. This leaves your pointer finger and thumbs to direct and control it. 
  3. Gently pull the piece between two teeth, scraping along the side of one tooth down below the gum. 
  4. Drag it back up along the side of the tooth. 
  5. Repeat on the side of the other tooth. 
  6. Continue flossing like this for all your teeth. 

Flossing using this technique helps to prevent damaging your gums with the floss. Make sure to visualise flossing to see if you miss anything. 

What if my gums bleed when I floss?

Bleeding gums when flossing can be caused by incorrect flossing technique or gingivitis. 

If you have changed your flossing technique to the above and your gums are still bleeding gingivitis might be the cause of the bleeding. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums caused by poor oral hygiene and a buildup of plaque. Gingivitis can be reversed with increased good oral hygiene like regular brushing and flossing. We encourage you to continue flossing regularly even though the gums are bleeding; the gums will heal from the gingivitis and the bleeding will stop. Gingivitis can, however, become Gum disease which is irreversible, so we encourage you to persist with flossing as best you can!

 

Tips for flossing: 

  1. Keep your floss out on the bathroom bench. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is true in this case; storing your floss in a bathroom cupboard or drawer usually means you forget to floss. Ideally, keep the floss out next to your toothbrush or somewhere you will notice it. 
  2. Have a floss that you take with you; Keep it in your handbag or car, and when you have a moment or you feel something stuck in your teeth you will have it there ready to go!
  3. Keep a routine. Once you have formed your flossing habit, try to maintain it. 
  4. Find a floss that works for you. Not all brands are the same, some are thinner than others, some are flavoured. Find a floss that you like and you’re more likely to want to floss your teeth! If you’re not sure where to start with all the different types of floss, book an appointment with our dentists, they will be able to advise you as to what sort of floss might work best for you! Our dentists have favourite floss types, and you can too!

 

All of us at Skye Dental encourage you to start flossing today! We believe once you start, you will love the feeling of flossed teeth and you won’t want to go back! If you have questions or want to chat with one of our dentists about your oral health call 3823 1896. 

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