Preventing cavities requires regular brushing and flossing. But more importantly, it is about doing both of these activities the right way. Bad technique can completely undo the benefit of consistent flossing and brushing. And where there are a lot of great guides and tools on how to brush effectively, many people do not know that there are better ways to floss their teeth.
When using normal floss you should break off about 18 to 20 inches of floss. This is almost two full feet or a full arm’s length of floss. Then wind the floss around your fingers leaving a 1-2 inch gap between them. Make sure that when you guide the floss between your teeth that you do it gently and that you clean both sides of both teeth. Do not press the floss against the gum line. Pressing the floss to your gums can cause inflammation. Make sure to clean both teeth when you floss. With each new tooth, gap use a different section of the floss.
It is recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. Generally, it is better to floss and then brush. Brushing after flossing can help remove any food particles that were dislodged while flossing. This decreases the amount of food plaque in your mouth that could lead to more tooth decay. As for the time of day, there isn’t really any benefit to choosing one time over another, however, it is recommended not to eat directly after flossing and brushing. This is why many choose to floss after dinner and before going to bed.
There are a variety of floss types out there. Aside from standard floss, some individuals use floss picks or even electric floss picks. Just like with toothbrushes battery-powered or electric versions, floss picks can help if you are struggling to keep your teeth clean but they are not necessary. Most evidence shows that if someone is flossing and brushing consistently and with good technique, their teeth and gums will be as healthy as someone who is using electronic equipment to aid their brushing and flossing. Electronic floss picks are valuable for teens and kids who might struggle to floss correctly.
The best way to learn more about flossing and brushing is to learn from your dentist. If you or your child is looking for a dentist in the Chicago area, we would love to see you at one of our locations. To schedule an appointment click here.