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Guidelines for Proper Flossing That Will Keep Your Smile Healthy

By Stephen Rogers on January 20, 2016

A man flossing his teethThe team at Greater Long Island Dental believes that good dental health begins with the patient, which is why we make patient education a crucial part of our holistic approach to advanced general dentistry.

Flossing is a important part of having a healthy and beautiful smile. Yet there are many people out there who, unbeknownst to themselves, aren't flossing correctly.

Many People Do Not Floss Properly

It's a bit of a shock, but many people do not floss their teeth the way they ought to. Sometimes it's an issue of not flossing frequently enough, and other times it's an issue of flossing technique. While this may seem minor, improper flossing can lead to a whole host of serious dental health problems.

The Problems Caused by Improper Flossing

For one, if you do not floss enough or floss thoroughly, you are not getting your teeth as clean as they can be. Food particles and plaque buildup may remain between teeth and in the back of the mouth. This means an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

If a person flosses too aggressively or with too much force, he or she can actually do harm to the gumline. This periodontal damage leads to bleeding gums, gum recession, and an increased risk of gum disease as well.

Now that you know these problems are serious, let's go over proper flossing technique.

The Basics: Proper Motion and Movement

When using floss, it's important that you gently move the floss between your teeth, gliding it up and down and making sure the floss hugs the surface of each tooth it is between. Be sure to shift the floss to a clean, unused portion of floss as you work from tooth to tooth. A similar hugging and gliding approaching should be taken when you clean the rear molars.

Avoid snapping the floss down on your gums, and instead work the floss down gently. This prevents potential cutting of the gums along the gumline. Be thorough but gentle.

Floss Threaders Are Crucial for Orthodontic Patients

If you have braces, brushing alone is not enough to keep your mouth clean. It is of the utmost importance that you floss when you have braces. Given the challenges posed by the brackets and wires of the braces, the use of floss threaders is crucial.

The floss threaders will allow you to weave the dental floss under the brackets and wires without doing any damage to them. While it will take a little bit of extra time to floss with braces in place, it's important to prevent tooth decay while undergoing orthodontic care. An extra minute is well worth a healthy smile for years to come.

How Often Should I Floss?

People should floss at least once a night to help remove food particles that may be caught between the teeth over the course of a day.

For the best possible prevention of tooth decay, it's ideal for people to brush and floss after every meal. This removes food particles, helps manage oral bacteria, and makes sure that there is minimal plaque buildup as the day goes on.

Schedule a Consultation at Greater Long Island Dental

For more information about proper brushing and flossing as well as many other oral hygiene matters, be sure to contact our cosmetic and general dentistry center today. The team at Greater Long Island Dental looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve the healthiest smile possible.

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Massapequa Office

101 New York Ave
Massapequa, NY 11758

Open Today 9:00am - 7:00pm

More Info Directions (516) 468-7103