Many people have a love/hate relationship with flossing. It’s a chore, but one that pays big dividends in dental health. And—if you’ve avoided flossing because it’s uncomfortable, take a look at new ideas that make flossing easier. Some floss brands now use high-tech materials like Gore-Tex to make floss slide between teeth more easily and be more comfortable. There are also new interdental tools like picks and brushes that can accomplish the task of cleaning between teeth.
And some people have avoided flossing because they don’t know how to do it properly. According to the American Dental Association, here’s the right way to floss:
- Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
- When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
- Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
- Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
- Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.
Flossing is critical for preventing plaque from building between tooth surfaces. If you’re having trouble getting into the habit of flossing, try this: Discipline yourself to floss for six days. Then ask yourself if the extra couple of minutes each day are truly disrupting your daily schedule.
You’ll likely discover that it’s not—and that you’ve gotten yourself into a healthy new routine!