Floss comes in a variety of materials and colours but essentially it is a very thin cord you hold between your fingers of each hand and insert between adjoining teeth. The cord, or floss, helps loosen debris by gently moving it up and down and back and forth between the teeth. Flossing has proven to be a great method for loosening debris from hard to reach surfaces of your teeth and gum lines. This is the next best step to brushing.
Another great benefit of flossing is the increase of blood circulation in your gums. Gum stimulation is a necessary means of keeping your gum tissue healthy and strong. Gums are the foundation of your teeth. Typically; it is recommended that you floss your teeth once a day. Many people find that flossing at night to be an easier routine, just before bed, and the bonus is that it helps protect your teeth during sleeping, when harmful plaque can do a lot of damage.
There are different types of dental floss. They come in different colours, flavours and materials. Waxed varieties are slipperier, allowing people with extremely light spaces between their teeth to floss more easily. Popular flavours of floss include: wintergreen and cinnamon. Waxed floss does tend to fray more than unwaxed floss. A type of material called wide floss can be also effective for people with large spaces between their teeth, or for people with delicate bridge work.
Floss can be purchased in small, self-dispensing boxes. Floss can also be purchased in special, single-use holders, a useful invention for people who have a hard time wrapping floss around their fingers, including those with dexterity problems or arthritis.
Some great flossing techniques are:
- Most people wrap 1-2 inches around a finger on each hand and use the floss in between their teeth
- The important thing is to leave plenty of floss in between to allow you to maneuver inside your mouth
- Another great way is to break off a foot of floss and wrapping one end of the floss a few times around the middle finger of each hand and using your forefinger and thumbs to maneuver the floss inside your mouth
- Press the floss between two teeth and gently press downward or upward if doing an upper set of teeth
- Then glide the floss up and down a few times against the surfaces of both teeth, carefully, and to reach below the gum line as well
- If your teeth bleed; don't be freaked out, this is normal until your teeth get used to flossing