Flossing 101: How to Floss Properly

You know you should floss. Do you do it consistently? Your dentist in Kalamazoo, MI, Dr. Mark Richardson wants to encourage you in this important oral hygiene habit. He and his team teach patients proper technique. You can do it, and reap the benefits of a healthy smile.

Why floss?

After all, isn't brushing enough to remove plaque and tartar? The answer is no, it's not enough. These food residues and their associated bacteria cause tooth decay and gum disease, and flossing helps reduce your chances of developing both.

The American Dental Association (ADA) says to brush twice a day and floss--once a day every day. Along with semi-annual cleanings and exams with your Kalamazoo dentist and a tooth-friendly diet, your at-home routine sets the stage for a smile that lasts a lifetime.

How to floss

Proper flossing consists of three basic principles:

  1. Be consistent. Pick an uninterrupted time each day for your flossing routine. Use a flossing product you like and can manipulate easily. Strand floss, inter-proximal brushes and Y-flossers are popular and very effective.
  2. Be thorough. Form a c-shape with your strand floss, wrapping the opposite ends around your index or middle fingers. Insert the floss between your teeth, and move the floss up and down in the inter-dental space. Wind the used floss on one index finger. Repeat this as your move around your mouth, and finish with a rinse of clear water. Dispose of the used floss.
  3. Be gentle. Your gums are tender. Never snap strand floss against your gums, or dig at them with a brush or Y-flosser. Abraded gums become sore, and the discomfort can discourage this important oral hygiene practice. If you develop sore spots, be sure to tell your Kalamazoo dentist and hygienist about them.

Additionally, if you are a parent, floss your young children's teeth. Children under six years of age do not have the dexterity to floss properly. Also, the ADA recommends you supervise all kids up to age 10 as they brush and floss their teeth.

Find out more

At Dr. Mark Richardson's office in Kalamazoo, your dentist and dental team stand ready to help you develop effective oral hygiene habits. Preventive care, including daily flossing, reaps wonderful benefits of a long-lasting, healthy, and beautiful smile. If you have a dental emergency, contact our office at: (269) 343-6907.

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