Gum disease is incredibly widespread in our country. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 50% of U.S. adults over the age of 30 show signs of periodontal disease (or gum disease). That’s more than 64.7 million people!
In order to protect yourself from experiencing symptoms of this disease and damaging your long-term oral health, it’s imperative that you routinely take care of your oral health with daily cleaning habits.
One of the most important habits you can adopt, in addition to brushing, is flossing at least once per day.
How does flossing help protect against gum disease?
Gum disease forms near the gum line and in between teeth. Flossing on a daily basis helps eradicate plaque from some of these critical areas where a toothbrush can’t always reach.
However, in order to completely prevent gum disease, you need to adopt the proper flossing technique. Using the American Dental Association (ADA)’s guide as a foundation, let’s break flossing technique down into five (5) essential motions to help you remember the steps and easily build a healthy routine over time.
Here Are The 5 Steps To Properly Floss:
Wrap: Wrap about 18 inches of floss around your middle or pointer finger on both hands. This may sound like a lot, but as you move to each tooth, you’ll need enough floss to have clean stretches of floss to use.
Grip: Grip the floss tightly between your thumbs and pointer fingers, leaving 1-2 inches to floss with. You’ll be using your thumbs to slide the floss between upper teeth.
Glide: Carefully guide this bit of floss between every gap in your teeth, moving in a smooth back and forth motion. Be sure to avoid pulling the floss between teeth too quickly. You should slowly work your way into the crevice, as opposed to trying to jam the floss through.
Polish: Use the floss to wrap around one side of the tooth at a time, almost creating a half-moon or crescent shape with the floss as you move back and forth in a circular motion around the tooth.
Slide: Slide the floss up and down, making sure to get each side—including the back—of each tooth. As you make your way to each new tooth, slide the floss down in your grip, so that each new motion uses a fresh, unused bit of floss. You can rotate through your entire stretch of floss by rolling floss from the finger of one hand to the finger of the other, using your thumb to keep track.
There you have it! Using this technique, you can floss with almost any kind of floss material you prefer—it’s really up to you. Whether it’s dental tape, spongy floss, waxed, or unwaxed, it’s all about how you do it, rather than which you use. It doesn’t matter when you do it, either, as long as you do it on a daily basis.
Consistency is key!
Using this technique allows you to get rid of any extra food particles and plaque buildup between your teeth, which greatly contributes to your overall oral health. When you combine 1x/day flossing with 2x/day brushing, you’re fighting off even more plaque from invading your gum line and spots in between your teeth, resulting in a sparkling clean mouth each day!
If you would like to learn more about proper flossing technique or to schedule a consultation with a local dentist here in New Orleans, please contact us.
Dental Arts is a full-service general dentistry and orthodontic practice for the entire family. For more than three decades, we have been providing the highest quality dental and orthodontic care available to the residents of New Orleans. Explore the Dental Arts difference today.