Dental Health Week: Ask the Dentist: Tips on How to Floss your Teeth
Don't worry we haven't forgotten about flossing from Monday's blog post where we focused on the best tips on how to brush your teeth. If you’re relying solely on brushing to keep your teeth clean, you’re missing around 35-50% of the surface area of your teeth which, not surprisingly, lies between them. For that reason alone, at Capstone Dental Seven Hills, our dentists will always encourage that flossing should be an essential part of your oral care routine and never an optional extra.
By using floss to remove the plaque from between your teeth, you’re helping to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and halitosis (otherwise known as “bad breath”), a considerable amount of upside for just a couple of minutes effort each day.
Make it a part of your routine
It’s always best to floss when you’re not in a rush or when you’re too tired to do it well. If you find you're exhausted at the end of the day, then it's a good idea to floss first thing in the morning or after lunch. Alternatively, if you like to go to bed with a clean mouth then floss before your nightly brush.
Should children floss their teeth?
Our dentists recommend introducing the idea of flossing to your children's teeth when all 20 of their baby teeth have come out (this occurs around age 3)
We tend to introduce flossing to kids visiting the dentist when they're about 4 or 5 years old so they get used to the idea and we then slowly encourage them to practice themselves at home once or twice a week
This builds up a habit and familiarity, so that by the time your child is about 12 years old when all the baby teeth have fallen out, they're already used to flossing and we can then encourage them to start flossing their teeth every day or every second day
How do I floss my teeth?
If you're seriously interested in learning, drop by our clinic and our dentists or staff at Capstone Dental Seven Hills would be more than willing to give you a free lesson on how to floss correctly but here are some basic tips you can follow:
Tip 1. Wind approximately 30-45 cm of floss around your middle fingers and grip it tightly between your thumbs and index fingers.
Tip 2. Keeping the thumb and forefingers close together, gently guide the floss between the teeth, taking care not to cut or damage your gums with abrupt movement.
Tip 3. You should use a gentle up-and-down motion that goes down one side of the tooth, just under the little collar of gum and then back up the other side (think of it as an on-the-side “c”)
If sticking your fingers into your mouth with a cord of thin filaments strung between them isn’t your idea of fun, then consider using either a less invasive floss threader (a nylon loop through which you thread the floss) or floss pick (the floss is held taut between two prongs on a handle) to do the job.
What type of floss should I use?
This is a matter of personal preference - for some they like mint flavored or non flavored floss, for others, they found dental tape works better than dental floss, for others they just simply buy whichever brand is cheapest
Are there alternatives to flossing if I find flossing hard?
And finally, we may recommend using other items such as bottle brush-shaped interdental cleaners (also called interdental brushes), if you have large gaps between your teeth, or interdental tips (flexible rubber tips) and irrigators (electrically-powered water-pumping devices) to compliment your flossing regimen.
Interdental Brushes (Interdental cleaners)
These are great if you find that you can't seem to get the floss between your teeth, especially at the back
They're essentially little pipe cleaners that your thread into the gaps between your teeth to clean them
It is important to use the right size, so if the interdental brush is too big for your gap, use a smaller one
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us (02) 8605 1696
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