Brushing and flossing are the two most important parts of oral preventive care, but many people misunderstand them. Flossing, in particular, is easy to do badly if you don’t know the right technique. At All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach, we work hard to provide restorations to people suffering from tooth decay, but in order for our work to last, a patient must understand how to floss properly. We thought it would be helpful to describe the process.
Flossing is supposed to remove debris from your teeth, not move it from one tooth to another. You’ll need to use long strands of floss, of at least fifteen inches, and wrap each end around your middle finger. You’ll be able to manipulate the taunt floss with your index fingers and thumbs, and as you floss each tooth, you’ll unspool a bit more floss from one finger and wrap the other end around the middle finger on the other hand.
To floss well, you need to scrape the floss along the side of each tooth. A common mistake is to simply slide it into the gap between the teeth, but you’ll actually need to pull it into a c-shape against each tooth and slide it a little way into the gingival margin. You’ll then rub the floss back and forth as you lift it back out, and do the same with the other side of the tooth. Doing this shouldn’t hurt or cause bleeding, and if it does, you’re going too far into the gum or you already have a mild gum infection. Sugar-free chewing gum can help remove food debris when you aren’t able to floss immediately after a meal, but flossing needs to be done daily, and be done on both natural and prosthetic teeth.
Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos operate All Coast Dental at 2180 Garnet Ave, Suite 1-K, Pacific Beach, California, 92109. To schedule an appointment, call 858-270-4904 or visit All Coast Dental and fill out a contact sheet.