How to Make Flossing Easier, Faster & More Effective
The benefits of flossing are well known, and it can have far-reaching positive effects on your overall state of health and well-being. Here, you’ll learn about these benefits and how you can make flossing easier and more comfortable.
There are many different ways to help maintain a clean and healthy mouth, such as brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, regular use of an antibacterial oral rinse, and keeping up with the recommended intervals of dental checkups and cleanings with your hygienist. During those checkups, you’ll likely hear your dentist or hygienist remind you of the importance of flossing and the positive effects that it has, not just on your mouth, but on your overall health and well-being.
Nevertheless, there are still many people who are perhaps not quite as diligent with flossing as they should be. Many cite understandable reasons such as occasional discomfort or not having enough time to really keep up with the practice as well as they’d like. Fortunately, we’ve got the answers you need to help make flossing easier, faster, and more comfortable than ever so you can experience the many positive benefits of regular flossing and keep your mouth in tip-top shape.
Before we get to the tips, tricks, and interesting new products you can use to get better results from flossing, we feel it’s a good idea to refresh our memories on why flossing has such positive effects on our health.
Why Is Flossing So Important?
Imagine for a second that you were emptying your dishwasher and putting away dishes you think are clean, only to discover a bunch of dried-on food stuck between the tines of some of your forks. Now, would you just put those forks back in the drawer without a second thought? No way! You’d take the time to properly clean them out, right?
The reality is that no matter how good your tooth brushing technique is, no matter how much oral rinse you use, there’s likely still going to be some food particles stuck in between your teeth and under your gum line. If small particles of food are allowed to remain stuck between your teeth or in your gums, bacteria will build up and produce the acids that cause tooth decay. Plaque will accumulate and develop into hard tartar on the surfaces of your teeth. In short, it’s just not good to leave your teeth ‘partly clean’.
Flossing gets rid of food particles stuck in those stubborn and hard to reach areas, making your mouth a lot cleaner and helping to keep bacteria growth and plaque build-up in check. Flossing regularly keeps your teeth cleaner and your breath fresher, but that’s not all. Flossing is one of the best preventive measures we have in the fight against gum disease, which is a very serious dental health condition that can lead to other major health problems if allowed to progress untreated.
Suffice to say, flossing is one of the most effective dental health care practices for a variety of reasons, and without questions it should be a regular part of your at-home oral care habits. Now, let’s talk about what you can do to maximize the benefits of flossing with the use of proper technique and advanced flossing products designed for greater comfort and convenience.
How To Floss Properly
Learning proper technique is the single most effective way to improve the results you get from flossing, as well as to improve how comfortable it feels when you do it. In general, most of the complaints that people have when it comes to flossing being uncomfortable is simply due to using too much force, going too quickly, or holding the floss improperly.
This helpful tutorial video from the American Dental Association is a great resource on proper flossing technique. It shows how to hold the floss properly, and how to sequentially progress through your teeth to ensure complete coverage.
Here are the basic steps of flossing properly:
1 – Start with a piece of floss about 16-22 inches long, with the majority of it wrapped around your two middle fingers, and a bridge of floss about 2 inches long in between them.
2 – Pull the floss taut and grip it at either end of the open length of floss with your index fingers and thumbs.
3 – Using a firm but gentle back-and-forth motion, maneuver the floss in between your two top middle incisor teeth. Technically you can start with any two teeth, but this starting point makes it easy to keep track of which teeth you’ve done in a logical sequence.
4 – Move the floss up and down along the side surfaces of the teeth, being careful not to press the floss down into your soft gum tissue. Doing this by accident or with too much pressure is one of the reasons that you may have found flossing to be uncomfortable, so avoiding this mistake can make a big difference in your flossing experience.
5 – When the floss reaches the area of your tooth near the gums, gradually curve the floss around the base of the tooth and guide the floss into the space between to clean any food particles or build-up plaque from this area.
6 – As you progress from tooth to tooth, front to back and top to bottom, you should unwrap the floss each time and use a fresh section of floss to achieve optimum results.
Flossing is just like any other skill we develop over time. The more we do it, the better we get at it. This means every time you floss you’ll get more skilled at the process and will find it increasingly easy and comfortable. Of course, while technique is the most important way to improve your flossing results, there are many products to choose from that can suit your personal preferences and make the experience even more positive.
Let’s take a look at some of the different types of flossing and interdental cleaning products that are available in the dental care section of your local pharmacies and shopping centers. While we won’t recommend specific brands or models of products, this should give you a good idea of what to look for and what types might suit your oral care routine the best.
Waxed or Unwaxed Dental Floss
The most universal method of cleaning in between teeth is tried-and-true dental floss. It comes in a wide range of styles, such as mint-flavoured, waxed, or unwaxed, just to name a few. While flavoured flosses are mostly intended to assist in freshening the breath, waxed flosses allow for the floss to glide more easily in between teeth that have tighter gaps, which can make for a more pleasant overall flossing experience.
At the end of the day, choosing the right floss takes a bit of trial and error to really find the one that you enjoy the most. Since individual packets of floss are very affordable, we’d recommend trying two or three different varieties to see if there’s one that you find better suits your personal preferences, and then stick with that brand and style.
Dental tape functions in essentially the same way as regular dental floss, but it comes in a much wider strip-type format. Many people who have larger fingers find the thicker profile of dental tape to be easier to work with when compared to the thin floss when wrapped around their fingers. If this sounds appealing to you, then we’d suggest giving dental tape a try to see if it might offer you a better flossing experience.
Interdental Picks & Brushes
Another option available for cleaning in between teeth and around the gumline are fine-tipped interdental brushes and soft, flexible interdental picks. These are very effective at cleaning between teeth that may have larger gaps between them, and many people find them to be quite pleasant as they can be used to gently massage the gum areas around the base of the teeth.
Water flossers are very popular in the bathrooms of many Canadians who find them to be a fast, easy, and very comfortable way to improve their dental cleaning routines. These compact, handheld devices work by squirting a fine jet of water in between the teeth and around the gums to quickly wash away leftover food particles and built-up bacteria.
With many different settings that can be adjusted to match individual preferences, such as varying speeds of pulsation and tips that provide wider or thinner water streams, water flossers can easily be personalized for each member of your household.
Start Flossing Smarter Today & Gain the Benefits of a Healthier Mouth
Flossing really is an essential part of maintaining a clean, strong, and healthy mouth. We certainly hope that this information has helped you perfect your flossing technique or perhaps encouraged you to try some new flossing products that may make it easier for you to get better results from your at-home oral care routine.
If you have any questions about flossing, or any other aspect of your dental health, give the team here at Georgian Dental a call today. We’re here to help answer any questions you may have, and look forward to arranging your next appointment.