Be honest: When was the last time you flossed your teeth? If you do not floss routinely, you are not alone. According to a national poll, only 36% of Americans floss daily! Interestingly, in the same poll, 80% agreed that flossing is important. The lack of daily flossing may be why nearly all American adults experience some form of tooth decay or gum disease in adulthood. Don’t be part of the unfortunate statistic: There are many reasons why you should be flossing daily, the most important of which is sustaining your oral health and preventing dental disease.
Do You Floss Daily? Why You Should
What if you quickly wiped down your bathroom but never took the time to scrub in the corners where dirt and scum accumulates? Your bathroom would never really be clean. The relationship between brushing and flossing is the same. Brushing your teeth is important to clean the surface areas of your teeth and gums, removing food particles and plaque buildup. But your tooth brush doesn’t get in the tight spots and crevices between teeth and around gums where tooth decay and gum disease most often occur. Flossing is so important because it cleans these crevices between teeth. Daily flossing is a great step to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
How to Floss: Dental Flossing Tips
What is the right way to floss? If you floss properly, you’ll effectively remove food particles and plaque buildup from under the gum line and between teeth to prevent dental disease. Consider these tips:
- Floss at night in conjunction with your nighttime brushing routine
- You can choose to floss before or after brushing; either procedure is effective
- Use approximately 18 inches of dental floss so you have ample length to work with
- Pull the floss taut and wrap each end around opposite pointer or middle fingers, leaving a few inches in the middle to floss your teeth
- Steady and control the floss with your pointer fingers and thumbs
- Start with a gentle up and down motion between teeth
- Move the floss back and forth between teeth to clear food particles and plaque
- Pause periodically to wipe the floss and remove debris, ensuring the floss is clean while in use
- Gently floss under the gum line around the base of each tooth